Charged with First-Degree Murder - Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter - Superior Court

MR, a 40-year-old man, stabbed another man in the leg during a fight. Unfortunately, the stab wound severed the man's femoral artery. The man died. RM was charged with First-Degree Murder.

MR and his girlfriend went to a home to buy drugs from another couple. The sellers handed the drugs to MR, despite the parties not having reached a deal. MR inspected the drugs and questioned the legitimacy. For their part, the sellers became agitated as they feared not being paid. MR became wary; so, he threw money and weed on the bed and left with the drugs. Believing that he was being ripped off, the seller attacked MR, gaining the upper hand and placing MR in a chokehold. MR was unable to break free. He gave the drugs back to the seller, but the seller still did not let go. MR began to feel weak and light-headed. He stabbed the seller in the leg. Seller immediately let go. MR and his girlfriend tried to leave, but the police arrived before they could do so. The EMTs arrived moments later, but the seller had lost too much blood. He died with minutes.

The trial lasted two weeks. More than 20 witnesses testified. The jury found MR guilty of the drug theft, but rejected the government's argument that MR committed Felony-murder (a murder that occurs during the commission of a life-felony). Instead, the jury convicted MR of Involuntary Manslaughter, finding that MR caused the seller's death through "wanton or reckless conduct." MR avoids a mandatory life sentence.