Clovis school BB gun case helps define “use of deadly weapon”

Crime

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state supreme court has clarified exactly what “use of a deadly weapon” means in criminal cases. The ruling stems from a February 2018 case of a 12-year-old who flashed a BB gun at a Clovis principal and asked him “What would happen if somebody shot up a school?” and “Are you afraid to die?”


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On appeal, the juvenile’s attorney argued the boy only verbally threatened the principal and never pointed the gun at him. But the court concluded the boy made what it calls “facilitative use” of a deadly weapon. Meaning a deadly weapon was present at some point during the encounter, the victim had reason to know the defendant was armed, and that weapon was intentionally used to commit the assault.

The court has directed one of its rule-making committees to recommend those guidelines for jury instructions in similar cases.

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