State v. ColemanAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's conviction of third-degree depraved mind murder under Minn. Stat. 609.195(a), holding that Defendant failed to show that an erroneous jury instruction affected his substantial rights.
Defendant had an alcohol concentration of more than twice the legal limit when he drove his snowmobile at nearly sixty miles an hour across a frozen lake, fatally injuring an eight-year-old boy. When instructing the jury, the district court used the model jury instruction for third-degree depraved mind murder, which tells jurors that the underlying act must be "committed in a reckless or wanton manner with the knowledge that someone may be killed." Defendant challenged the instruction on appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the instruction at issue materially misstated the law; but (2) Defendant failed to establish that the error affected his substantial rights.