Friday, December 26, 2014

WA: Example of One Punch Homicide

Thomas, above, died after being struck with one punch.

On December 21st, just before Christmas, there occurred a tragic example of a one punch homicide.  It seems clear that the homicide was unintentional, as the victim agreed to be hit.   Both young men were at a party and appear to have been drinking.  From
Before the fight, the two shook hands and smoked a cigarette together, witnesses told sheriff's deputies. Thomas, who apparently hit a car that the suspect was sitting in, agreed to let Galen hit him.

But Galen hit Thomas so hard that he fell backward on the pavement and never regained consciousness, sheriff's spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. After friends could not revive Thomas, one drove him to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash., where he later died.
This is a graphic example that a punch to the head is potential deadly force.   It is important to understand this; once you know this to be true, you can testify that you did, and a prosecutor and jury can be informed that you had this knowledge. 

The law about justification of using deadly force is based, in part, on the "reasonable person" doctrine.   A jury would be instructed to determine if someone claiming self defense acted  as a "reasonable person" might, knowing what they knew, in the situation that they found themselves. 

In this case, there was no justification; the victim agreed to be punched. 

But that is not true in most cases.   For a list of hundreds of people killed with one punch, we owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Kokette of Madison, Wisconsin,  who has compiled such a list at

One life ended, one likely ruined for the future;  this is a tragic case.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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