Hennepin County District Court File No. 022918
Where the totality of the circumstances demonstrate that the commission of the offenses of felon in possession of a firearm or possession of a stolen firearm are inherently dangerous to human life, a district court may find that probable cause exists for unintentional murder in the second degree (felony murder) pursuant to Minn. Stat. §á609.19, subd. 2(1) (2000).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anderson, Judge
Dissenting, Hudson, Judge
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
Appellant State of Minnesota asserts that the district court clearly erred by dismissing a felony murder charge and concluding that neither felon in possession nor possession of a stolen firearm can serve as predicate offenses to felony murder. Because the district court erroneously failed to consider the manner in which respondent committed the other crimes and, because respondent's possession of a loaded shotgun posed a special danger to human life when pointed at the victim's head from a few feet away, we reverse.
On February 26, 2002, respondent, Jerrett Lee Anderson, brought a loaded, stockless, pump-action 12-gauge shotgun to the house of Blake Rogers. Respondent told Rogers and a third-party that he had stolen the gun. Respondent passed the gun to Rogers and the third-party. They remarked that it was loaded and they returned the gun to respondent. While Blake Rogers knelt to load compact discs into his stereo system, respondent pointed the shotgun at Rogers's head. The gun discharged, killing Blake Rogers. The third-party and respondent ran from the house after Rogers fell over from the shotgun blast.
Prior to the killing, respondent had been convicted of riot in the second degree, a felony and a "crime of violence" pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2000). Thus, under Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (2000), it was a felony for respondent to possess the shotgun. The state charged respondent with unintentional murder in the second degree, Minn. Stat. § 609.19, subd. 2(1) (felony murder), and murder in the third degree, Minn. Stat. § 609.195 (a) (2000) (depraved-mind murder). The district court found that probable cause existed for murder in the third degree but dismissed the murder in the second degree charge, ruling that felon in possession and possession of a stolen firearm are not legal predicates for felony murder. The state appealed the dismissal under Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.04, subd. 1(1).
Did the district court err in ruling that the offenses of felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm are not proper predicate offenses to ...