Williams v. State (Corrected Opinion)Annotate this Case
Defendant was charged with the attempted first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend in 2006. The jury instruction for attempted manslaughter by act was given consistent with the standard instruction as it existed in 2006. The instruction required the jury to find that Defendant "intentionally caused the death" of the victim. Defendant was ultimately convicted of attempted second-degree murder. Defendant appealed, contending that giving the instruction constituted fundamental error similar to that found by the Supreme Court in State v. Montgomery, in which the Court ruled that giving the standard jury instruction for the completed crime of manslaughter by act is fundamental error when the defendant is convicted of an offense not more than one step removed from manslaughter. The Court quashed the decision of the court of appeals and remanded the case, holding (1) giving the standard jury instruction on attempted manslaughter by act constitutes fundamental error where the defendant is convicted of an offense not more than one step removed from attempted manslaughter because the crime of attempted manslaughter by act does not require the State to prove that the defendant intended to kill the victim; and (2) the offense of attempted manslaughter remains a viable offense.