State v. Butler, No. 21647

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtNESS; LEWIS
Citation277 S.C. 452,290 S.E.2d 1
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Horace BUTLER, Appellant.
Decision Date22 February 1982
Docket NumberNo. 21647

Page 1

290 S.E.2d 1
277 S.C. 452
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Horace BUTLER, Appellant.
No. 21647.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Feb. 22, 1982.

Page 2

[277 S.C. 454] David I. Bruck, of S. C. Commission of Appellate Defense, Columbia, and W. McAlister Hill, Ravenel, for appellant.

Atty. Gen., Daniel R. McLeod, Asst. Atty. Gen., Lindy P. Funkhouser and Senior Asst. Atty. Gen., Brian P. Gibbes, Columbia, and Asst. Sol., Steve Schmutz, Charleston, for respondent.

NESS, Justice:

This is a death penalty case. Butler was convicted for the murder of Pamela Lane and sentenced to death. We affirm.

First Butler asserts certain jurors were wrongfully disqualified from jury duty due to their unwillingness to impose the death penalty. This issue has been decided adversely to appellant and is without merit. State v. Linder, S.C., 278 S.E.2d 335 (1981); State v. Hyman, S.C., 281 S.E.2d 209 (1981).

Appellant also argues juror Jennings V. Knight should have been disqualified alleging his answers on voir dire indicated he would automatically vote in favor of the death penalty. We disagree. Knight was questioned as follows:

By Defense Counsel:

"Q. Would you automatically send him to death?

"A. Well, according to the evidence what was in the court, what we judged him by." (Tr. 385, f. 18-20).

By the Court:

"Q. Could you return life imprisonment if you thought that was warranted?

"A. Yes." (Tr. 389, f. 5-7).

Considering the entire colloquy with this venireman it is clear that he was properly qualified. State v. Gilbert & Gleaton, S.C., 283 S.E.2d 179 (1981). This exception is without merit.

[277 S.C. 455] Appellant next argues the trial court erred in admitting testimony that appellant was "known to carry a gun" where appellant's character had not been put in issue. Immediately prior to the disputed question the same witness testified appellant was carrying a pistol on the night of the murder. (Tr. 727, f. 17, to 728, f. 8).

Page 3

This testimony was merely cumulative since it did no more than bolster the fact that the witness was aware of a pistol on appellant's person. There was no error. State v. Blackburn, 271 S.C. 324, 247 S.E.2d 334 (1978).

Appellant asserts the trial court erred in admitting into evidence two written confessions since appellant was not provided with a copy of these statements when made. This was due to a malfunction of the copy machine at the police station. Butler was given a copy three weeks later, prior to the preliminary hearing and approximately four months before trial.

Appellant argues this violated S.C. Code § 8-15-50, § 19-1-80 and § 19-1-90 since a copy was not provided at the time the statement was made. We disagree.

South Carolina Code sections shall not be applied in a hypertechnical manner. State v. Jones, 228 S.C. 484, 91 S.E.2d 1 (1956). There is nothing in the record to indicate there was any prejudice to appellant's rights. See generally, State v. Crenshaw, et al., 274 S.C. 475, 266 S.E.2d 61 (1980); State v. Scott, 269 S.C. 438, 237 S.E.2d 886 (1977). Clearly, appellant had ample time to prepare his case after receiving a copy of the confession. Appellant is due a fair trial, not a perfect one. This exception is without merit.

Appellant contends the trial court erred in refusing to charge manslaughter. He told police on the night of the murder he stopped to talk to the victim and invited her to go for a ride. He stated the victim voluntarily ditched her brand new motorbike in the bushes and got in his car. He then drove to a secluded, wooded area where the deceased openly seduced him, re-dressed herself and calmly informed him that she was going to "cry rape" because she needed an excuse for arriving home late. Appellant said he "panicked" [277 S.C. 456] and shot her, then dumped her body over a bridge into a stream.

Voluntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being in sudden heat of passion upon a sufficient legal provocation. State v. Norris, 253 S.C. 31, 168 S.E.2d 564 (1969). Where death is caused by the use of a deadly weapon words alone are not sufficient to constitute a legal provocation. State v. Gardner, 219 S.C. 97, 64 S.E.2d 130 (1951).

There were no actions by deceased to constitute legal provocation, hence a charge on voluntary manslaughter was not required. This argument has no merit.

Appellant next claims his state constitutional rights were violated because the indictments failed to...

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38 practice notes
  • State v. Copeland, No. 21808
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 10 novembre 1982
    ...doubt." The trial judge's definition of reasonable doubt is well within the guidelines set by this Court. State v. Butler, S.C., 290 S.E.2d 1 (1982); State v. Griffin, S.C., 285 S.E.2d 631 (1981). There is no Appellant Copeland argues the trial judge erred in refusing to instruct the jury t......
  • Butler v. Kellar, No. 88-6677
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 5 mars 1990
    ...murder during the commission of a rape. The Supreme Court of South Carolina upheld Butler's conviction on direct appeal, State v. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1, and we denied certiorari. Butler v. South Carolina, 459 U.S. 932, 103 S.Ct. 242, 74 L.Ed.2d 191 (1982). Subsequently, Butler ......
  • State v. Torrence, No. 23403
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 1 mai 1989
    ...State v. Adams, 279 S.C. 228, 306 S.E.2d 208 (1983) (II); State v. Elmore, 279 S.C. 417, 308 S.E.2d 781 (1983) (I); State v. H. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1 (1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 932, 103 S.Ct. 242, 74 L.Ed.2d 191 State v. J.A. Butler, 277 S.C. 543, 290 S.E.2d 420 (1982); Sta......
  • State v. Drayton, No. 22778
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 10 mars 1987
    ...the trial court is not to be concerned with the weight of the evidence, but rather with the existence of such evidence. State v. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1 Appellant admitted that he consumed liquor and beer at a birthday party he attended from eight-thirty until midnight on Februar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • State v. Copeland, No. 21808
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 10 novembre 1982
    ...doubt." The trial judge's definition of reasonable doubt is well within the guidelines set by this Court. State v. Butler, S.C., 290 S.E.2d 1 (1982); State v. Griffin, S.C., 285 S.E.2d 631 (1981). There is no Appellant Copeland argues the trial judge erred in refusing to instruct the jury t......
  • Butler v. Kellar, No. 88-6677
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 5 mars 1990
    ...murder during the commission of a rape. The Supreme Court of South Carolina upheld Butler's conviction on direct appeal, State v. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1, and we denied certiorari. Butler v. South Carolina, 459 U.S. 932, 103 S.Ct. 242, 74 L.Ed.2d 191 (1982). Subsequently, Butler ......
  • State v. Torrence, No. 23403
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 1 mai 1989
    ...State v. Adams, 279 S.C. 228, 306 S.E.2d 208 (1983) (II); State v. Elmore, 279 S.C. 417, 308 S.E.2d 781 (1983) (I); State v. H. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1 (1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 932, 103 S.Ct. 242, 74 L.Ed.2d 191 State v. J.A. Butler, 277 S.C. 543, 290 S.E.2d 420 (1982); Sta......
  • State v. Drayton, No. 22778
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 10 mars 1987
    ...the trial court is not to be concerned with the weight of the evidence, but rather with the existence of such evidence. State v. Butler, 277 S.C. 452, 290 S.E.2d 1 Appellant admitted that he consumed liquor and beer at a birthday party he attended from eight-thirty until midnight on Februar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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