A 15 year old Kenosha high school student was charged on Friday with 2nd degree intentional homicide. It is alleged that Timothy Carson and a fellow classmate at Bradford High School were fighting over a girl and that they arranged a fight in a park. While the fight didn’t occur as planned, an altercation took place in a classroom the next day between the two boys. Prosecutors say that the victim started the altercation by entering a room and punching Carson. It was at that time that prosecutors say Carson stabbed the victim one time in the chest.
What is 2nd Degree Intentional Homicide?
2nd degree intentional homicide is defined in Wisconsin Statute Section 940.05 as “Whoever causes the death of another human being with intent to kill that person is guilty of a Class B felony, if [b] the state concedes or cannot disprove a mitigating circumstance in a first degree intentional homicide case.” The mitigating circumstance in the Kenosha case is unnecessary defensive force. Because prosecutors charged Carson with 2nd degree intentional homicide, they concede that they cannot disprove the mitigating circumstance.
What About Self-Defense?
Prosecutors must prove that Carson intended to kill the other student and that he caused the other student’s death. But by charging Carson under 2nd degree intentional homicide, prosecutors concede that 1) Carson must have believed he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and 2) Carson believed that the use of force was necessary to defend himself. However, prosecutors will argue that one or both of these beliefs were unreasonable.
Carson’s defense will almost certainly have to be that he reasonably believed he was in imminent danger and that the force he used was reasonable under the circumstances. This is called “perfect self-defense” and is codified in Section 939.48 of the Wisconsin Statutes. In a nutshell, Carson is not allowed to use force that is intended or likely to cause death unless he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself. His case will likely come down to why he believed he had to stab the victim and whether that belief was reasonable.
Any case involving self-defense is going to be complicated. Whether it’s an allegation of 2nd degree intentional homicide or simple battery, self-defense may be a viable option. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss any and all defenses to your case.