After reviewing the fact pattern presented in this week’s forum, I would charge Mr. Mayo with voluntary manslaughter. In Virginia, second-degree murder is defined as any willful or deliberate killing other than capital murder and murder in the first degree (Virginia Law, 2020). To meet capital murder or first-degree murder charges, Mr. Mayo would have needed to premeditate and planned to kill Mr. Scowen (Virginia Law, 2020). Based on the facts of this case, Mr. Mayo did not intend to kill Mr. Scowen, thus dropping the case down to second-degree murder.
In Virginia, voluntary manslaughter is a killing that is intentional but not premeditated, such as a killing committed after being provoked by the victim (FindLaw, 2020). According to Mr. Mayo, Mr. Scowen picked up a beer bottle threatening to kill Mr. Mayo over their heated argument regarding $1500.00. This action provoked Mr. Mayo to grab the pistol behind the bar and shoot to kill Mr. Scowen. Mr. Mayo could have used the gun to neutralize the threat in other forms, such as shooting a limb or using it as a show of force to get Mr. Scowen out of the bar. Neither of these actions happened, and Mr. Mayo quickly and efficiently decided to shoot and kill the intoxicated Mr. Scowen.
A few issues that the defense will attempt to bring to light will be that Mr. Mayo was never read his Miranda Rights. The Miranda Rights strictly protect individuals from self-incrimination, which was not the case in this situation
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