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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

5.1-1  Murder -- 53a-54a (a)

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with murder.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of murder when, with intent to cause the death of another person, (he/she) causes the death of such person or of a third person.1

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:  

Element 1 - Intent to cause death
The first element is that the defendant specifically intended to cause the death of another person.  There is no particular length of time necessary for the defendant to have formed the specific intent to kill.  A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

The intent to cause death may be inferred from circumstantial evidence.  <See Evidence of Intent, Instruction 2.3-2.>

The type and number of wounds inflicted, as well as the instrument used, may be considered as evidence of the perpetrator's intent, and from such evidence an inference may be drawn that there was intent to cause a death.  Any inference that may be drawn from the nature of the instrumentality used and the manner of its use is an inference of fact to be drawn by you upon consideration of these and other circumstances in the case in accordance with my previous instructions.2   [<Insert if warranted by evidence:> Declarations and conduct of the accused before or after the infliction of wounds may be considered if you find they tend to show the defendant's intent.]  This inference is not a necessary one; that is, you are not required to infer intent from the defendant's alleged conduct, but it is an inference you may draw if you find it is reasonable and logical and in accordance with my instructions on circumstantial evidence. 

Element 2 - Caused death
The second element is that the defendant, acting with the intent to cause the death of another person, caused the death of <insert name of decedent>. 

[<If transferred intent is applicable:>   It is not necessary for a conviction of murder that the state prove that the defendant intended to kill the person whom (he/she) did in fact kill.  It is sufficient if the state proves that, acting with the intent to kill a person, (he/she) in fact killed a person.]

This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of the decedent's death. You must find it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert name of decedent> died as a result of the actions of the defendant. <See Proximate Cause, Instruction 2.6-1.> 

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant intended to cause the death of another person, and 2) in accordance with that intent, the defendant caused the death of <insert name of decedent>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of murder, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.

1 The language "or of a third person" "specifically provides for intent to be transferred from the target of the defendant's conduct to an unintended victim."  State v. Hinton, 227 Conn. 301, 316 (1993).

2 DO NOT instruct jurors "that one who uses a deadly weapon on the vital part of another 'will be deemed to have intended' the probable result of that act and that from such a circumstance the intent to kill properly may be inferred."  State v. Aponte, 259 Conn. 512, 522 (2002).  See also State v. LaSalle, 95 Conn. App. 263, 273-77, cert. denied, 279 Conn. 908 (2006) (reviewing court's instructions on inference of intent).


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