Continued Confusion About Attempted Murder

In State v. Williams, decided on June 12, 2019, the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized continued confusion surrounding the prosecutions burden of proof in attempted murder cases.

Although attempted murder is a specific intent crime, the trial judge, without objection, instructed the jurors that a specific intent is not required to prove attempted murder. As a result, the Supreme Court reasoned this instruction became the law of the case and did not consider whether “the doctrine of transferred intent applied to a specific-intent crime such as attempted murder.” As Justice Kittridge stated in the opinion, “transferred intent makes a whole crime out of two halves by joining the intent to harm one victim with the actual harm caused to another” victim.

Click this link to read State v. Williams.