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Criminal Law and Jury Instructions in Alabama

In 2009, Thomas Crowe and his codefendant, Toni Collins, were at the home of Marvin Dailey. Crowe started a fire in a bedroom of Dailey’s home. Dailey was struck in the head with a hammer. Collins and Crowe took various items of personal property from Dai- ley’s home, including his car. Dailey’s body was found in- side the home and an autopsy indicated that he died from smoke inhalation. After leaving Dailey’s home, Crowe and Collins went to the home of Jeff Link. Crowe told Link that he had beat someone up. Crowe and Collins had Dai- ley’s car. During an investigation, Collins gave a statement that implicated Crowe. She later directed law enforcement to a pond in which the hammer had been thrown. Crowe was arrested and convicted of three counts of capital murder. Reversed.
The Court found the following issue on appeal: “Whether the circuit court erred when it instructed the jury that it could convict Crowe of capital murder if it found that Crowe ‘or another participant’ intended to kill Dailey.” The instructions are conflicting but the court did instruct the jury that an element of intentional murder was whether “the defendant or another participant intended to kill Mr. Dailey.” Crowe did not testify but the State introduced tapes of telephone conversations that Crowe had with his wife and mother while in jail. In those conversations, Crowe stated that he had not killed Dailey and that he had not intended for him to be killed. The judgment of the trial court is due to be reversed. Crowe v. State of Alabama.

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