Vanderbilt Law Review


James B. Earle

First Page



Homicide: The statutory requirement that a killing be "willful; deliberate, malicious, and premeditated" for a finding of murder in the first degree is not applicable to a killing committed while in the perpetration of one of the felonies listed in the statute. This question arose in Farmer v. State, in which it appeared that the killing resulted from the setting on fire of a dwelling, i.e. arson, by the defendant. It was urged on appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court that there was no proof of felonious homicide because there was no showing of an intent to kill nor even that the defendant had knowledge of the existence of the victim, a two and one-half year old child. The court was not impressed with this argument, however, and stated that where a causal connection between one of the felonies listed in the statute and the death is shown, no proof of intent to kill or malice toward the victim is necessary. This of course follows the development of the felony-murder rule.