Hicks and Colvard were riding
down the street on horseback when they met Rowe. According to witnesses,
there was a conversation. Rowe pointed a gun at Colvard a few times.
Hicks said to Colvard, "Take off your hat and die like a man."
Then Rowe shot Colvard, killing him.
Later, Rowe was killed by
the police when they came to arrest him.
Hicks was arrested and charged
Hicks argued that he was
just an innocent bystander. It was Rowe that shot Colvard.
Hicks testified that he
thought Rowe was going to shoot them both.
The Trial Court convicted
Hicks of murder. He appealed.
The Trial Court that Hicks
had encouraged Rowe into shooting
Colvard. That made him guilty for aiding and abetting the crime.
The US Supreme Court reversed
and remanded for a new trial.
The US Supreme Court found
that the jury must be instructed that Hicks is only criminally culpable
if his words were intended to
encourage Rowe. If Hicks had said the words for another purpose, then he
is not culpable, even if those words had the effect of encouraging Rowe.
Hicks testified that he was
trying to convince Rowe not to
The Court found that a
person can be guilty of aiding and abetting if they are just present during a crime but provide no aid
because aid is not necessary. However, this is only if there was a prior
conspiracy between the criminals. There
was no evidence here that Rowe and Hicks had a conspiracy, so that jury
instruction was flawed.
Basically, this case said that
encouraging someone to shoot makes you just as guilty of murder as the
person who pulls the trigger. However, just being there is not enough,
you have to intentionally encourage