Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42. Page: 273
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1875.] FARREER . THEE STATE. 273
Opinion of the Court.
viction of murder in the first degree, it must be proved like any
other fact in the case, by such evidence as is reasonably sufficient
to satisfy the jury of its existence.
The evidence by which this inward intent is to be shown
consists of external circumstances, such as the acts or declarations
of the party, preceding or nearly connected with the killing,
manifesting the state and condition of his mind, and the
nature and intent of his design. Thus, antecedent menacings,
former grudges, deliberate compassings, and the like have always
been regarded as facts strongly tending to prove the existence
of express malice. But, as has been frequently held by
this court, it does not follow, because the killing may be the result
of the prompt and speedy execution of a hasty or immediate
resolution, that it may not have been done with express
malice. The law has no scales to measure the time in which a
sedate, deliberate mind may reach a formed design to kill, or do
some serious bodily injury, which may probably result in death.
When such design is once formed, the haste with which it is put
in execution in no way affects or modifies the character of the
act, or the degree of guilt thereby incurred.
As the difference in the degrees of murder does not result
from the length of time taken to form the design, or the speed
with which it is executed, but upon the state and condition of
the mind in which the design is formed, it is obvious that it
will often be difficult in homicides, without antecedent explanatory
facts showing their true character, to determine to which
class the particular case under consideration belongs. It is always
to be borne in mind, however, whatever difficulty there
may be in establishing the fact that the killing was with express
malice, still it is incumbent on the State to prove it, before
the accused be properly convicted of murder in the first degree.
This may be done by proof of the cool, calm and circumspect
deportment and bearing of the party when the act is done,
and immediately preceding and subsequent thereto; his apparent
freedom from passion or excitement; the absence of
any obvious or known cause to disturb his mind, or arouse his
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Texas. Supreme Court. Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42., book, 1881; St. Louis, Mo.. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28531/m1/281/: accessed March 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .