State v. Watson

Citation115 S.W. 1011,216 Mo. 420
PartiesSTATE v. WATSON.
Decision Date02 February 1909
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri

Appeal from St. Louis Circuit Court; Hugo Muench, Judge.

Jesse Watson appeals from a conviction. Affirmed.

This cause is now before this court upon appeal by the defendant from a judgment of conviction of manslaughter in the fourth degree in the circuit court of the city of St. Louis.

On the 25th day of November, 1907, the assistant circuit attorney of the city of St. Louis filed an information, duly verified, in the circuit court of the said city, charging the defendant with manslaughter of the fourth degree. As the sufficiency of the information is challenged, it is well to reproduce it. Omitting formal parts, the charge is thus stated: "Richard M. Johnson, assistant circuit attorney, in and for the city of St. Louis aforesaid, within and for the body of the city of St. Louis, on behalf of the state of Missouri, upon his official oath, information makes as follows: That Jesse Watson on the 31st day of October in the year of our Lord 1907, at the city of St. Louis aforesaid, with force and arms, in and upon one Christine Musick, feloniously, carelessly, recklessly, and with culpable negligence did then and there make an assault; and that the said Jesse Watson was then and there in charge and control of and operating and managing a certain automobile, moving and being propelled along and upon Locust street, a public highway of the said city of St. Louis; and that the said Jesse Watson then and there at said city of St. Louis, on said 31st day of October, 1907, feloniously, carelessly, recklessly, and with culpable negligence did drive, propel, and force said automobile with great force and violence at, against, and upon said Christine Musick, and then and there feloniously, carelessly, recklessly, and with culpable negligence did with great force and violence throw and cast said Christine Musick to the ground and pavement, and drive, propel, and force two of the wheels of said automobile against, upon, and over the head and body of said Christine Musick, then and there feloniously, carelessly, recklessly, and with culpable negligence giving to the said Christine Musick by means of said throwing and casting upon the ground and pavement, in and upon the head of the said Christine Musick, three blows and shock and concussion of the brain, of which said blow on the head and said shock and concussion of the brain she, the said Christine Musick, then and there did languish, and languishing did live from said 31st day of October, A. D. 1907, to the 3d day of November, A. D. 1907, on which said 3d day of November, A. D. 1907, the said Christine Musick of the said blow on the head and said shock and concussion of the brain at the said city of St. Louis did die. And so the said Richard M. Johnson, assistant circuit attorney, as aforesaid, upon his official oath aforesaid, does say that the said Jesse Watson, on the said 31st day of October, 1907, at the city of St. Louis aforesaid, her, the said Christine Musick, in the manner and form and by the means aforesaid then and there feloniously, carelessly, recklessly, and with culpable negligence did kill and slay, against the peace and dignity of the state."

On the 27th day of November, 1907, the defendant was duly arraigned and entered his plea of not guilty. The cause was then continued to the next term of said court, at which time the defendant interposed a demurrer to the information, which was by the court overruled. On the application of the defendant the cause was again continued. On the 12th day of November, 1908, the trial of said cause was begun, and upon said trial the evidence developed tended substantially to show the following state of facts: That the deceased, Christine Musick, aged 12 years, with her sister, Helene Musick, aged 14 years, and Ethel Dickson, a girl friend, on the evening of the 31st day of October, 1907, attended a musical at the Lucas Avenue Presbyterian Church in said city. A little past the hour of 10 that night, the said three girls, having left said church for their homes, walked southward on the west side of Channing avenue, in said city, and as they were crossing Locust street an automobile, driven by the defendant, struck the deceased, Christine Musick, with great force, knocking her down, breaking her limbs, and bruising her head, from which injuries on the 3d day of November, 1907, she died. Several witnesses testified that immediately after the passing of the automobile Christine was found lying in Locust street, four to six feet from the curbstone, on the north side of said street, where pedestrians on Channing avenue cross Locust street. In the street near her were found broken parts of her watch, which she was carrying when struck. She was found in an unconscious condition and never regained consciousness. She was removed to a pharmacy, and from there to a hospital, where she died. From the intersection of Channing avenue and Locust street, the former running north and south and the latter east and west, the scene of Christine's injury, there was a clear and unobstructed view for as much as 400 feet in each of the four directions. At that time numerous lights were shining brightly in that neighborhood, which was a section of the city principally built up with structures devoted to business, together with some residences. Locust street at that place was paved with asphaltum, and it was crossed by street car tracks running north and south on Channing avenue. The space of the street within the street car tracks, and for about a foot and a half on either side, was paved with granite blocks. At the time the girl was struck, she and her companions had taken but a few steps on Locust street in their movement southward in crossing the same. The automobile, which struck and killed the little girl, came from the eastward at a high rate of speed and passed on to the westward without halting after striking her. The automobile was occupied by several persons, including one or more women, and the defendant, who was driving the same. At and near the intersection of Channing avenue and Locust street at that time were numerous persons passing to and fro.

Nearly all of the 12 witnesses who testified for the state were close enough at the time to hear the screams of the girls at the time Christine was struck, but no witness testified to having heard the sounding of the horn of the automobile, or other warning sounds of its approach to the girls. Max Zimmerman testified that he was about four or five steps behind Christine when she was struck, and that he immediately sprang to her relief, and as he was about to pick her up he noticed the automobile had arrived opposite a factory 80 feet distant. He had been a bicycle racer and was accustomed to estimating the speed of moving objects, and he gave it as his opinion that the automobile at that time was running at the rate of about 50 miles per hour. In response to the question of a juror as to whether he considered that the automobile was running at a moderate rate of speed, or at a high rate of speed, fast or slow, he answered that it was running fast. He said that he came to the conclusion that it was running fast because he saw it and heard it. Several witnesses who saw the said automobile running on Locust street within a block...

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60 cases
  • People v. Maki
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • January 7, 1929
    ...should undertake to set out in detail in what such carelessness, recklessness and culpable negligence consisted. State v. Watson, 216 Mo. 420, 115 S. W. 1011. The unlawful act charged in this information and relied upon by the prosecution is that the defendant ‘did operate said automobile *......
  • State v. Ruffin
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    ...the same estimate. Testimony of this character is received by the courts ex necessitate and goes to the jury for what it is worth. [State v. Watson, supra, 216 Mo. l. c. 433, S.W. l. c. 1011; 70 A. L. R. 540, note; 94 A. L. R. 1190, note.] But the testimony in this instance was given by non......
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