Sullivan v. State

CourtSupreme Court of Nebraska
Writing for the CourtSULLIVAN
Citation79 N.W. 721,58 Neb. 796
PartiesSULLIVAN v. STATE.
Decision Date21 June 1899

58 Neb. 796
79 N.W. 721

SULLIVAN
v.
STATE.

Supreme Court of Nebraska.

June 21, 1899.



Syllabus by the Court.

[79 N.W. 721]

1. Objections to instructions not brought to the attention of the district court by a motion for a new trial cannot be successfully urged in this court.

2. One cannot be convicted of a felony upon his own unsupported extrajudicial confession that a crime has been committed. Such confession may be sufficient to prove the defendant's connection with the criminal act, but there must in all cases be proof aliunde of the essential facts constituting the crime.

3. But, while a voluntary confession is insufficient,

[79 N.W. 722]

standing alone, to prove that a crime has been committed, it is competent evidence of that fact, and may, with slight corroborative circumstances, be sufficient to warrant a conviction.

4. Circumstances capable of an innocent construction may be interpreted in the light of the defendant's confession, and the fact under investigation be thus given a criminal aspect.

5. A declaration may be a part of the res gestæ without being precisely coincident with the main transaction. It is sufficient that there was between the two an immediate causal relation, and that the statement was a spontaneous characterization of the act.

6. The accused procured a revolver in a saloon, went about 50 feet, fired a shot, and killed a man, ran back to the saloon, threw the revolver on the floor, and exclaimed, “My God! I have killed Tom Kirkland, my best friend,” then hurried back to the dying man, raised his head, and again declared that he had shot his best friend, and that he would be hanged. Held, that such declarations constituted parts of the res gestæ, and were legitimate, independent evidence of the homicidal act.


Error to district court, Douglas county; Slabaugh, Judge.

Thomas Sullivan was convicted of murder, and brings error. Affirmed.

Lee S. Estelle and William F. Gurley, for plaintiff in error.

C. J. Smyth, Atty. Gen., and W. D. Oldham, Dep. Atty. Gen., for the State.


SULLIVAN, J.

On an information charging him with the crime of murder, Thomas Sullivan was tried, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for a period of 11 years. Of the errors assigned, the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the verdict is the only one properly before us for consideration. The action of the court in giving and refusing certain instructions is called in question and discussed by counsel at considerable length, but the point was not raised in the motion for a new trial, and cannot be successfully urged for the first time in this court. The substance of the accusation against the defendant is that, with premeditation and malice, he shot and killed one Thomas Kirkland. On the trial the truth of the charge was shown by the prisoner's voluntary confessions made to police officers on the night of the tragedy. It is now contended that such confessions were the only proofs of the corpus delicti, and that they were not competent evidence of that fact. We do not assent to either proposition. Independent of the deliberate and voluntary confessions, the salient facts disclosed by the record are: That on the night in question Sullivan became involved in a quarrel with some colored men near the Tenth Street Viaduct, in the city of Omaha; that, while the broil was in progress, he ran into the saloon of Walter Brandise, obtained a revolver, and ran out again, declaring that he intended to kill “a black nigger”; that he ran north to the alley; that just across the alley a man, who afterwards proved to be Kirkland, was seen walking south; that there was the flash and report of a pistol; that the man walking south fell on the sidewalk, where he was immediately after found dead; that just after the shot was fired Sullivan ran back to the saloon,...

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30 practice notes
  • State v. Hankins, No. 88-309
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • 23 Junio 1989
    ...be sufficient to warrant a conviction. State v. Scott, supra; State v. Moss, 182 Neb. 502, 155 N.W.2d 435 (1968); Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721 (1899). Where a crime involves physical damage to a person or property, the prosecution must generally show that the injury for which......
  • Hollywood v. State, 654
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 12 Enero 1912
    ...v. R. R. Co., 115 Ia. 338; Nutchum v. State, 11 Ga. 615; State v. Garrand, 5 Ore. 217; State v. McDaniel, 68 S.C. 384; Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796; Wright v. State, 88 Md. 705.) There is no arbitrary time limit. (Johnson v. State, 8 Wyo. 494; Sullivan v. State, supra.) As to conclusions ......
  • Williams v. People, 15492.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 5 Marzo 1945
    ...slight corroborative circumstances, establish the corpus delicti, as well as the defendant's guilty participation.' Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721, 722. 'The rule requiring corroboration of a confession [114 Colo. 215] is met, if the additional evidence is sufficient to convinc......
  • Garcia v. State, No. 33612
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • 14 Enero 1955
    ...of, the transaction out of which the litigation in hand grew and on which transaction said litigation is based.' And in Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721, we held: 'A declaration may be a part of the res gestae without being precisely coincident with the main transaction. It is su......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • State v. Hankins, No. 88-309
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • 23 Junio 1989
    ...be sufficient to warrant a conviction. State v. Scott, supra; State v. Moss, 182 Neb. 502, 155 N.W.2d 435 (1968); Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721 (1899). Where a crime involves physical damage to a person or property, the prosecution must generally show that the injury for which......
  • Hollywood v. State, 654
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 12 Enero 1912
    ...v. R. R. Co., 115 Ia. 338; Nutchum v. State, 11 Ga. 615; State v. Garrand, 5 Ore. 217; State v. McDaniel, 68 S.C. 384; Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796; Wright v. State, 88 Md. 705.) There is no arbitrary time limit. (Johnson v. State, 8 Wyo. 494; Sullivan v. State, supra.) As to conclusions ......
  • Williams v. People, 15492.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 5 Marzo 1945
    ...slight corroborative circumstances, establish the corpus delicti, as well as the defendant's guilty participation.' Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721, 722. 'The rule requiring corroboration of a confession [114 Colo. 215] is met, if the additional evidence is sufficient to convinc......
  • Garcia v. State, No. 33612
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • 14 Enero 1955
    ...of, the transaction out of which the litigation in hand grew and on which transaction said litigation is based.' And in Sullivan v. State, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721, we held: 'A declaration may be a part of the res gestae without being precisely coincident with the main transaction. It is su......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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