Commonwealth v. Malone
354 Pa. 180, 47 A.2d 445 (1946)
Malone (17 years old) found a
gun. He put one bullet in the chamber and asked his friend Long (13 years
old) if they could play Russian Roulette. Malone pulled the trigger 3
times. The third chamber held the bullet.
Malone claimed he thought
that the bullet was in the final chamber.
Malone was arrested and
charged with murder.
The Trial Court found Malone
guilty of second-degree murder and
sentenced him to 5-10 years in prison. He appealed.
Malone argued that he did
not intentionally or knowingly kill Long. Therefore his conduct did not rise
to second-degree murder.
At best, he was reckless,
which would support a charge of manslaughter.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court
upheld the sentence.
The Pennsylvania Supreme
Court found that Malone intentionally
performed an act that had a very high chance of causing death. He did
this with reckless disregard
for the possible consequences.
The Court found that such
intentional doing of such an uncalled-for act in callous disregard of the
consequences was enough to show malice and thus sustain a charge of second-degree murder.
Some would call Malone's
actions depraved indifference or extreme
See Model Penal Code
§210.2(1)(b), which treats an
unintended killing as murder when it is committed recklesslyand
under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human