State v. Roan

Decision Date14 January 1904
Citation97 N.W. 997,122 Iowa 136
PartiesTHE STATE OF IOWA, Appellee, v. SAM ROAN, Appellant
CourtIowa Supreme Court

Appeal from Polk District Court.--HON. A. W. WILKINSON, Judge.

DEFENDANT was indicted for the crime of murder in the first degree. He was convicted of murder of the second degree, and sentenced to the penitentiary for the term of thirty years. From the verdict and judgment defendant appeals.


J. F Conrad and J. B. Rush for appellant.

Chas W. Mullan, Attorney General, and Chas. A. Van Vleck Assistant Attorney General, for the State.



Defendant and another man, by the name of Linn, went to the house of a Mrs. Kilbain, in the city of Des Moines, at which place Linn had a room. After drinking a small amount of liquor with Linn, defendant stated tat he thought he should go home, to which Linn responded that he (defendant) might go up to his room and stay as long he liked. Defendant did not accept the invitation, but shortly thereafter laid down upon the floor of the room which he had entered, and went to sleep. In the meantime Linn had left the house. Upon his return he engaged in a scuffle with the defendant, in which, according to the evidence, Linn was the aggressor, which resulted in Linn's getting him by the arms and pinioning him to the floor. Defendant then said that if Linn would let him up he would "quit and call it square." Linn released him, passed from the room into the hall of the house, and from there out onto the porch, where he stood for a few minutes, either resting against one of the porch columns or standing near the outer edge of porch. The evidence tends to show that while he was in this position the defendant slipped out of the room where he had had the scuffle, "tiptoed" his way onto the porch, and, seeing Linn, struck him a severe blow at the base and back of the head behind the ear, knocking him off the porch and onto and across the sidewalk which was a short distance from the porch, and rendering him unconscious. Defendant followed him into the street, jumped upon his prostrate form, kicked him in the face, and finally reaching into his pocket, drew a knife therefrom, and plunged it into the body of Linn several times, from the effects of which Linn died in a very few minutes,--one of the wounds having reached his heart. Defendant then went to a nearby dwelling house, washed his hands, and was there apprehended by the city officials. Defendant declared, as he opened his knife, that he would "fix" the deceased so that he would never catch him again.

The first claim made on the appeal is that the verdict is not supported by the evidence. The statement which we have made, gathered from testimony which the jury had the right to believe, is a sufficient answer to this contention. The case as thus stated does not disclose any justification or excuse for the homicide.

II. Complaint is made of the court's refusal to give certain instructions asked by the defendant. We shall not set all of them out, as no good purpose would be subserved thereby. The instructions given by the court on its own motion fully covered the propositions advanced by those requested, in so far as they embodied correct rules of law. The third request read in this wise: "In considering whether or not the defendant acted in self-defense, the question for you to determine is whether or not he had reason to believe, and did believe, that he was in danger of his life or of great bodily injury, and in determining that fact it is proper for you to take into consideration the fact, if you find it to be a fact, that the defendant was intoxicated at the time, and that a man in an intoxicated condition is likely to believe himself to be in danger for reasons that might not be considered sufficient to create a similar belief in the mind of a sober man." This was manifestly incorrect. Drunkenness does not constitute a defense, nor is it an excuse for crime. Such condition may be shown to negative felonious intent when that it material, or for the purpose of reducing the degree of an offense involving motive or intent, but it is not generally an excuse for the overt act. This is familiar...

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11 cases
  • Government of Virgin Islands v. Lake, 15794.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • June 22, 1966
    ...under the circumstances of their use, been regarded as deadly weapons. Webb v. State, 1894, 100 Ala. 47, 14 So. 865, 867; State v. Roan, 1904, 122 Iowa 136, 97 N.W. 997; Thomas v. State, 1942, 31 Ala.App. 1, 9 So.2d 150, 153; Gatewood v. State, 1945, 80 Okl.Cr.R. 135, 157 P.2d 473; People v......
  • Gov't of the Virgin Islands v. Lake
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • June 22, 1966
    ...under the circumstances of their use, been regarded as deadly weapons. Webb v. State, 1894, 100 Ala. 47, 14 So. 865, 867; State v. Roan, 1904, 122 Iowa 136, 97 N.W. 997; Thomas v. State, 1942, 31 Ala. 1, 9 So.2d 150, 153; Gate-wood v. State, 1945, 80 Okla. Crim. Rep. 135, 157 P.2d 473; Peop......
  • State v. Green
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • June 9, 2017
    ...see State v. Lass , 228 N.W.2d 758, 761–62, 766 (Iowa 1975), and stabbed a victim in the chest with a penknife, see State v. Roan , 122 Iowa 136, 139, 97 N.W. 997, 998 (1904). Similarly, based on defendants' uses of a variety of dangerous weapons, we have relied on the inference to uphold c......
  • Village of Barboursville ex rel. Bates v. Taylor
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • May 8, 1934
    ... ... left eye ...          By ... statute, it is unlawful for any person, without a state ... license therefor, to carry about his person a revolver or ... other pistol, dirk, bowie knife, slung shot, razor, billy, ... metallic or other ... Craiger v. State, 48 Tex ... Cr. R. 500, 88 S.W. 208; Thomson v. State, 49 Tex ... Cr. R. 384, 93 S.W. 111; State v. Roan, 122 Iowa ... 136, 97 N.W. 997; Benjamin v. State, 148 Ala. 671, ... 41 So. 739. By the same measure, a weapon which has inflicted ... serious ... ...
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