COMPILED BY TONY FLESOR
Editor’s Note: Court opinions are summarized by Law Week Colorado
COLORADO SUPREME COURT
People v. Anderson
The People petitioned for review of the Court of Appeals’ judgment vacating Richard Anderson’s conviction for attempted extreme indifference murder.
Anderson had made comments at a bar that he was suicidal and had a gun. After he got into a dispute with the bar’s manager and a customer, he threatened to shoot them both. After the manager called the police, Anderson pointed the gun at them both and then drove away. A police officer later pulled his car over, and Anderson got out of his car and began shooting at the police officer. Through their gun-fight, Anderson shot the officer in the arm, and the officer shot Anderson in the neck and abdomen, injuring him.
Through the arguments of counsel at his trial, the defendant presented his theory of defense — that he did not intend to harm or kill the deputy but only wanted to be killed by the deputy’s return fire.
Concluding that the universal malice element of extreme indifference murder requires for conviction that more than one person have been endangered by the defendant’s conduct and also concluding that no evidence was offered to prove the defendant’s shooting endangered anyone other than the victim, the court found the evidence insufficient to support the conviction. Because the statutory definition of extreme indifference murder does not limit conviction of that offense to conduct endangering more than one person, and because the evidence in this case was sufficient to permit a jury determination of the defendant’s guilt of attempted extreme indifference murder, the judgment of the Court of Appeals vacating the defendant’s conviction was reversed, and the case was remanded for consideration of any assignments of error concerning that conviction not yet addressed.