Commonwealth v. Malone

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Commonwealth v. Malone, 47 A.2d 445 (1946), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that affirmed the conviction of a teenager for second degree murder stemming from a game of Russian roulette.[1]


According to the defendant, he loaded the gun chamber adjacent to the firing chamber and did not expect the gun to go off when he pulled the trigger.[2]


The court used common law analysis to determine that a game of Russian roulette evinced malice and recklessness towards a very serious risk, thus fulfilling the mens rea required for depraved heart murder despite the fact that the killing of the specific victim was unintentional.[3]


  1. ^ Bonnie, R.J. et al. Criminal Law, Second Edition. Foundation Press, New York, NY: 2004, p. 797
  2. ^ "Commonwealth v. Malone". Casebriefs. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Bonnie, p. 798