270 Kan. 703
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Defendant appealed a judgment of the Lyon District Court (Kansas), which convicted him of felony murder for the death of his co-felon during flight from an aggravated burglary in which both defendant and the co-felon participated.
FACTS: The instant court considered whether defendant could be convicted of felony murder for the killing of a co-felon not caused by defendant's acts but by the lawful acts of a police officer acting in self-defense in the course and scope of his duties in apprehending the co-felon fleeing from the aggravated burglary. Defendant's principal argument centered on his being in custody at the time the co-felon was killed by the police officer's lawful act, which defendant contended was a break in circumstances sufficient to insulate him from further criminal responsibility.
The court overturned defendant's conviction for felony murder, holding that under the facts of the case where the killing of the co-felon resulted from the lawful acts of the police officer in attempting to apprehend the co-felon, defendant was not criminally responsible for the resulting death of the co-felon.
Making defendant criminally responsible for the police officer's lawful acts was not the intent of the felony murder statute as it was written.
OUTCOME: Judgment reversed. Because the killing of the co-felon resulted from a police officer's lawful acts in attempting to apprehend the co-felon, defendant was not criminally responsible for the co-felon's death.
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