State v. Goulet, 96-459

Citation283 Mont. 38,938 P.2d 1330
Decision Date30 May 1997
Docket NumberNo. 96-459,96-459
PartiesSTATE of Montana, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Robert P. GOULET, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

Page 1330

938 P.2d 1330
283 Mont. 38
STATE of Montana, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Robert P. GOULET, Defendant and Appellant.
No. 96-459.
Supreme Court of Montana.
Submitted on Briefs March 13, 1997.
Decided May 30, 1997.

Page 1331

[283 Mont. 39] Lawrence A. LaFountain, Great Falls, for Appellant.

Joseph P. Mazurek, Attorney General; John Paulson, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Julie Macek, Deputy County Attorney, Great Falls, for Respondents.

TURNAGE, Chief Justice.

Robert Paul Goulet was convicted in a jury trial in the Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, of deliberate homicide, misdemeanor theft, and carrying a concealed weapon. He appeals. We affirm.

The issues are:

1. Did the District Court err in refusing Goulet's offered jury instructions on mitigated deliberate homicide?

2. Did the court err in refusing Goulet's offered instructions on negligent homicide?

3. Did the court deny Goulet a fair trial by refusing to instruct the jury in regard to the mental states of "purposely," "knowingly," and "negligently"?

[283 Mont. 40] During the evening of April 27, 1995, Goulet and two other men, Henry Nelson and Edward Running Crane, visited several Great Falls, Montana bars to drink beer, gamble, and play pool. While they were walking down an alley on their way from one bar to another, Goulet asked Running Crane for a cigarette. Running Crane refused and pushed Goulet away.

Goulet took a butterfly knife from his pocket and "hit" Running Crane with it in the gut, after which he felt "stuff" on his hand. Goulet stabbed Running Crane again in the chest, and Running Crane fell to the ground. As Running Crane attempted to stand up, Goulet stabbed him in the back and shoulder. Running Crane again fell to the ground and stayed there.

Goulet searched through Running Crane's pockets, from which he took $25 or $30, some cigarettes, and some post office box keys. Nelson, who had observed the above events from a short distance away, walked up to Goulet and said, "I don't see what you're doing that for." Goulet replied, "I didn't like the faggot anyway." Leaving Running Crane lying in the alley, Nelson and Goulet went into a bar for another drink, then purchased cheeseburgers at a fast food restaurant and spent the rest of the night sleeping under a railroad trestle.

Running Crane's near-lifeless body was discovered in the alley shortly after 10:00 p.m. that night. He was transported to a hospital where he died three hours later, never having regained consciousness.

The fatal stab wound penetrated both ventricles of Running Crane's heart and the

Page 1332

lower lobe of his liver. Another wound penetrated four and one-half inches into his back and then into his right lung. Running Crane also had two more knife wounds in his lower chest and abdomen, with bruising on his abdomen. The pathologist who conducted the autopsy testified at trial that this bruising indicated that the knife "was probably thrust in up to the hilt with considerable force." Finally, Running Crane had a cut on his eyebrow which penetrated to the bone. The pathologist found no defensive wounds on Running Crane's body.

Bar employees identified Nelson and Goulet as the last persons seen with Running Crane on the evening of the homicide, as did Running Crane's cousins, who had given the three men a ride earlier that evening. When Nelson was questioned, he made a detailed statement describing the crimes. He also took police officers to the rooftop where he and Goulet had disposed of the knife, which was then recovered.

[283 Mont. 41] Nelson entered a plea agreement and was deposed. Shortly thereafter he fled and was unavailable to testify at trial. His deposition testimony was read into evidence at trial.

Goulet also gave a statement to detectives investigating Running Crane's death. He admitted stabbing Running Crane "about six times" when Running Crane became "obnoxious" after Goulet asked him for a cigarette. Goulet explained that he was intoxicated and was attempting only to intimidate Running Crane and not to hurt him.

A jury found Goulet guilty of deliberate homicide, misdemeanor theft, and carrying a concealed weapon. He was sentenced to serve seventy-five years in the state prison with twenty-five years suspended, plus concurrent terms of six months for the theft and concealed weapon charges.

Standard of Review

The standard of review for claims of instructional error in a criminal case is whether the jury instructions, reviewed as a whole, fully and fairly instruct the jury on the law applicable to the case. State v. Brandon (1994), 264 Mont. 231, 237, 870 P.2d 734, 870 P.2d 734, 737. A district court is given broad discretion in formulating jury instructions. State v. Ross (1995), 269 Mont. 347, 358, 889 P.2d 161, 167. To constitute reversible error, the district court's ruling on jury instructions must prejudicially affect the defendant's substantial rights. State v. Bradley (1995), 269 Mont. 392, 395, 889 P.2d 1167, 889 P.2d 1167, 1168. While a defendant is entitled to have instructions on any theory of the case supported by the record, he is not entitled to an instruction concerning every nuance of his theory or argument. State v. Webb (1992), 252 Mont. 248, 253, 828 P.2d 1351, 1354.

Issue 1

Did the District Court err in refusing Goulet's offered jury instructions on mitigated deliberate homicide?

A person commits mitigated deliberate homicide if he commits a deliberate homicide "but does so under the influence of extreme mental or emotional distress for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse." Section 45-5-103(1), MCA. Mitigated deliberate homicide is an affirmative defense to a charge of...

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22 cases
  • State v. Mills
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • October 16, 2018
    ...the requisite mental state for theft specified by § 45-6-301(1)(a), MCA, due to a good-faith claim of right. See State v. Goulet , 283 Mont. 38, 41, 938 P.2d 1330, 1332 (1997) (defendant entitled to jury instructions "on any theory ... supported by the record"); State v. Hagen , 273 Mont. 4......
  • State v. Beavers, 98-113.
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • October 26, 1999
    ...313, 324, 880 P.2d 829, 836. We give broad discretion to a district court in formulating jury instructions. See State v. Goulet (1997), 283 Mont. 38, 41, 938 P.2d 1330, 1332 (citing State v. Ross (1995), 269 Mont. 347, 358, 889 P.2d 161, 167). We also give broad discretion to a district cou......
  • State v. Macgregor
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • October 15, 2013
    ...intoxication does not constitute a mitigating factor, nor do the stresses that accompany living in hard times. State v. Goulet, 283 Mont. 38, 42, 938 P.2d 1330, 1333 (1997) (showing of intoxication or anger insufficient to support mitigation); State v. Martin, 2001 MT 83, ¶¶ 33–34, 305 Mont......
  • PETERSON v. ST. PAUL FIRE
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • August 24, 2010
    ...every nuance of his argument.” State v. Lantis, 1998 MT 172, ¶ 48, 289 Mont. 480, 962 P.2d 1169 (citing State v. Goulet, 283 Mont. 38, 41, 938 P.2d 1330, 1332 (1997)). 5However, this is not to say the same conclusion would necessarily apply on a retrial because the specifics of Anderson's t......
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