Criminal Law Keyed to Lee
State v. Bingham
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Bingham and the victim, Leslie Cook, got off a bus together and visited various places over a period of time, despite the fact they did not know each other. Three days later, Cook’s body was found in a field, near where the two were spotted at one point, and Bingham was charged with first degree murder. First degree murder requires that a defendant kill with premeditation and deliberation. Premeditation is defined as the deliberation and cool reflection by the defendant, before the defendant takes a life. Experts testified that Cook’s death was caused by strangulation, which was accomplished by putting pressure on the windpipe for between 3 and 5 minutes, and also noted the body had bruises and bites on it. The prosecution believed that during the act of sexual intercourse, Bingham decided to take the Cook’s life, and that Cook was still alive during the course of the sexually intercourse. The prosecution argued that the murder was still premeditated if Bingham formed the intent to kill Cook during the strangulation. Bingham argued that 3-5 minutes was not a sufficient amount of time to form the requisite state of mind for premeditated murder.
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