View Full Version : Do You Define Willow's and Angel's Attacks As "Attempted Murder"?

04-09-13, 11:59 PM
This is inspired by the conversation we've all been having in the Angel Thread. Willow brutally attacked Giles in Grave; Angel brutally attacks Wesley in Forgiving. However, do you view them as just an attack or would you define them as "attempted murder"?

I am posting both incidents in this poll to compare and contrast because the two do have similarities.

As this poll sprang out of discussions from Stoney's unspoilered watch of Angel, I request that you spoiler bar everything in Angel past Double Or Nothing in S3 of AtS. BTVS can be unspoilered.

05-09-13, 12:17 AM
I just think the conscious/subconscious influences with Angel complicate it so much to take it on a bald reading. Willow I don't think intending to kill, that was almost irrelevant as long as Giles got the point that he couldn't take her.

I think Willow was less likely to kill Giles because that wasn't even her 'conscious' intent I don't think, it has been a while since I saw the ep. Angel may have ended up killing Wesley as that was what he 'consciously' intended although I wouldn't put money on all the possible maybes/what ifs that would stop it (like orderlies coming in because he was making no attempt to keep it quiet like you probably would for a serious attempted murder where that was your priority but not so much when really what you needed was to release your pain and rage and make the other feel it).

If I had to vote on those options I would probably choose Angel's attack was attempted murder but Willow's wasn't based on what I think their conscious intent was but how much disruption the subconscious issues could flare up makes me not want to pigeon hole it and define it so specifically. I believe the majority of what was spurring Angel was his grief/fear for Connor but expressing his pain for Wesley to see and releasing the anger/distress at the betrayal was mixed in. Wesley means something to Angel or it wouldn't hurt as much as it did and it is so hard to second guess where the scene could have gone. He could have killed him definitely, Willow could have killed Giles. By a court assessment at least Angel's attack was attempted murder because of the conscious intent, Willow's possibly not. But simply in terms of underlying intent, drivers/motivators it isn't necessarily realistically going to hit that level. Angel may have ended up satisfied with having released his fury/tortured Wesley to believing he was going to die and lost his conviction at the last moment, we don't know.

05-09-13, 12:51 AM
If you want to go to the legal concepts, yes, they were both unambiguously attempted murder. It really goes to the nature of the acts, keeping in mind the elements discussed below. Holding a pillow over the face and pinning it down, especially when they already have a compromised airway, is something a reasonable person would recognize as a circumstance that creates a likely risk of death or serious bodily harm, and if the intent is to create such a circumstance with the likelihood that such death or serious bodily harm will result, that's not merely assault anymore, it's an attempted homicide. Ditto bouncing Giles off every possible load bearing member of the Magic Box.

Under California law, murder occurs when a human being is killed unlawfully by another human being with malice aforethought. The malice required can be expressed or implied. Express malice is found where one deliberately chooses to kill; implied malice may be found where one intentionally creates the circumstances which cause the death. Intent may also be found where a person acts with an "abandoned or malignant heart".

A crime of attempt occurs where one "attempts to commit any crime but fails, or is prevented or intercepted in its perpetration".

Both are likely second degree murder, although if one wants to debate if Willow's magic satisfied the California definition of a weapon of mass destruction, she could have attempted first degree murder with special circumstances.

Either one of them would have colorable affirmative defenses; Angel would be arguing that he acted in a heat of passion, provoked by Wesley's kidnapping Connor. Willow would be better off trying to argue an insanity defense; provocation probably wouldn't work against bystanders. California follows the M'Naghten Rule, which treats a person as criminally insane if, at the time of their acts, they didn't understand the nature of their act or were unable to tell the difference between right and wrong. I don't think Willow satisfies that standard in "Grave".

11-09-13, 04:22 AM
Angel's trying to murder Wesley is definitely attempted murder.

Willow against Giles isn't similar given Giles was actively attacking her. It could be simply self defense or her 'standing her ground'.