Desperate David has undertaken a dangerous desert trek rather than marry either of his current girlfriends. So each girlfriend (unaware of the others actions) sabotaged his reserve water supply.
Debra added a quick-acting poison while Dana punctured the barrel, allowing all of the poisoned water to run away.
One week later David died from dehydration.
When arrested Debra claimed she was innocent because even though she poisoned the water David did not drink any.
Dana claimed she was not guilty because puncturing the barrel had stopped David from dying sooner from the poison. Her action made him live longer.
They cannot be charged jointly since they acted independently
Who, if anyone, should be charged with what crime?
Not much question in my mind.
Dana is guilty of
murder. Her premeditated action led directly to David's death, in
exactly the manner and in exactly the timeframe that she
intended. The fact that she thwarted an earlier death is of no
import, especially because she did so unintentionally. Even if
the thwarting were intentional, though, it is no defence. (What
if, for instance, Debra planted a bomb timed to go off in 30 minutes,
Dana defused the bomb, and Dana then punctured the barrel? Dana
canot defend herself of the puncturing by saying that she defused the
The only way Dana's defense works is if (a) she was
aware of the poisoning, and (b) puncturing the barrel was the only way
to save or extend his life, and (c) she punctured the barrel with the
intent of saving or extending his life. These three elements, all
of which are required for the defense, are all contrafactual.
Oh, and Debra is guilty of attempted murder. She got off lucky, in more ways than one (David sounds like a Loser).
Edited on April 12, 2007, 10:42 am
Edited on April 12, 2007, 10:43 am