SC Supreme Court: Specific Intent to Kill is an Element of Attempted Murder

State v. King (Case No. 2015-001278)

In this case, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to expand on the Court of Appeals’ analysis below. The Court of Appeals previously reversed King’s attempted murder conviction based on the trial court’s erroneous instruction that attempted murder does not require a specific intent to kill. The Supreme Court notes that the Court of Appeals’ analysis focused on the phrase “with intent to kill” in isolation and did not consider the remainder of the statute concerning “malice aforethought.” Had the COA done so, the decision would have been much clearer as to why attempted murder requires a specific intent to kill. Tracking the legislative history of the Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill statute,┬áthe Court finds that the General Assembly expressly repealed the offense of ABWIK and purposefully created the new offense of attempted murder, which includes a “specific intent to kill” as an element.

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