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: 395
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1875.3 WILLIAMS AND SMITH v. THE STATE. 395
Opinion of the Court.
the general averments of the indictment, that appellants must
have been cognizant of the unlawful intent of the parties by
whom it is alleged the mortal blows were actually given. Buti
it cannot be admitted that a fact so essential to support the
charge against appellants in this form of indictment, should
depend upon mere inference and deduction. As the indictment
attempts to allege the facts upon which appellants are
charged as principal offenders, this one, the very gist of the
offense as to them, must be directly and distinctly averred.
The motion in arrest of judgment for this defect in the indictment,
should have been sustained.
The judgment must also be reversed on another ground.
On the trial of the case, Satterfield, who had been jointly
indicted with appellants, but as to whom a nolle prosequi had
been entered, was examined as a witness for the State. It is
expressly provided in the Code, that a conviction shall not be
had upon the testimony of an accomplice unless corroborated by
other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the offense
committed. (Paschal's Digest, Article 3118.) The witness, if
a participant in the alleged crime for which appellants were on
trial, was not an accomplice in the technical sense of the term,
but if guilty at all, was guilty as indicted and charged by the
State, as a principal and joint offender with the other parties
named in the indictment. But surely no such technical interpretation
can be given to the Code as to hold, because it is only
an accomplice-a participant in the offense in a more remote
degree-whose testimony must be corroborated to warrant a
conviction, that it is unnecessary to corroborate the testimony
of an accessory or principal offender, who seeks to escape the
penalty of the offense by becoming a witness for the State
against his confederates. The word accomplice was evidently
used in Article 653 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in a
different sense, and should receive a much broader interpretation
than as defined in Article 219 of the Criminal Code.
The witness, on his examination, denied any complicity in
the offense for which appellants were on trial, but he was
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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.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28531/m1/403/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .