Is ‘blackout drunk’ a defense for the Lake City shooting?

Apr 4, 2019, 12:15 PM | Updated: 12:15 pm
(KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7) (KIRO 7)

The alleged gunman from Seattle’s Lake City shooting reportedly told police that he was blackout drunk and did not remember the incident. It may play a factor in the shooter’s defense as he heads to court.

Former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna says that a murder is a crime of intent. Convictions generally rely on proving the defendant planned and intended to kill. In this case, court documents state that the suspect told police he was blackout drunk over the afternoon, and did not remember the shooting. He last remembered buying alcohol and playing video games, before becoming aware in the hospital.

RELATED: Bus driver tells story of how he escaped shooting
RELATED: Woman shot in Lake City wants to “own it”

“So the burden is on the prosecutor to prove specific intent,” McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “In this case, where someone is pleading intoxication as the defense, they have a burden as well … the burden is on the defendant to prove that he lacked the necessary intent to commit murder. We can contrast that to the crime of manslaughter. Intoxication is never a defense to involuntary manslaughter, or to rape, or battery, certain other crimes which are crimes of general intent.”

In short, intoxication might not play as much of a factor in such a case. The prosecution still has to prove intent. The defendant would have to prove they were too drunk to form intent.

Tad Michael Norman is being held with no bail on five charges — two for murder in the first degree, and three for attempted murder in the first degree. He was arrested after a shooting spree through Lake City.

The shooter fired upon a woman in a truck on Sand Point Way; then a woman in a car, striking her. He then shot at a bus, hitting the driver who was able to turn around and get his passengers to safety. The shooter reportedly then shot a driver of a Prius — killing him — and drove off in the car. After a short drive, he crashed into another car and killed the driver.

Court documents state that Norman told police he was blackout drunk, and did not even remember the crimes he is accused of.

“The defendant’s claim that he can’t remember is not a defense,” McKenna said.There is a statute that says that ‘no act committed by a person while in a state of voluntary intoxication shall be deemed less criminal by reason of his or her condition.'”

Intoxication can be taken into account when determining mental state. That’s about it.

So was he so drunk that he couldn’t form the intent for premeditated murder and then carry it out? You know the defendant’s going to come in and argue that’s the case,” McKenna said. “But weighing against that would be evidence like the description from the bus driver that it sure looked like he knew what he was doing. He wasn’t just wandering around, you know, staggering around, waving his gun in the air. He was taking aim. And that’s going to work against the defendant’s claim that he couldn’t form the specific intent required to convict him of murder.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Dave Ross

Ross: New criminal pursuit technology means no ‘Get Out of Jail Free’

So if the goal is to stop crooks without engaging in a dangerous police pursuit, I think there can be a political consensus.
23 hours ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Chinese balloon shot down was ripe for counter-surveillance

What I can say is that if I were in charge of monitoring China, I’d be tracking every Chinese balloon from the moment it broke 1000 feet
2 days ago
Michael Simeona

Watch Dave Ross try to outsmart his new AI friend ChatGPT

If you've listened to Dave Ross these past few months, you know his fascination with the new AI tool called ChatGPT.
3 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Was it a Chinese spy balloon, or luxury space travel prototype?

The defense department says it has been tracking a huge Chinese balloon over Montana
5 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: ‘Police used as substitute for properly funding social services’

The reason we keep seeing abuses like the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. It’s rooted in American culture.
6 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: More millennials need their parents help, but for how much longer

Dave was shocked to hear about the latest statistics from Money.com on the number of millennials being subsidized by their parents.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Is ‘blackout drunk’ a defense for the Lake City shooting?