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Dad, Give Me The Money And Don’t Call My Girlfriend A Slut… Or Else!

Willie Cheatham (his real name!) found himself out with his girlfriend, and out of cash. So he called his father about borrowing some money, then took a cab to his house. Per the court:

When he arrived, the men began arguing about the defendant’s habit of borrowing money and about his girlfriend, whom the elder Cheatham called a ‘slut’ and a ‘whore.’

Very, very bad move by the elder Cheatham.

Several minutes later, the defendant [Willie Cheatham] took a knife from the kitchen and proceeded into his father’s bedroom, where he stabbed his father sixty-eight times with two different knives. Also, at some point, the defendant hit his father with a glass vase, fracturing his skull. The defendant took $78.00 from his father before taking a taxi back to the bar where his girlfriend was waiting.

So what do you think happened to Willie?

He confessed, waived his right to a jury trial, was convicted of second degree murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, without parole. Willie appealed, contending that his father provoked his actions by insulting his girlfriend and throwing the $78.00 in his face. So he should have been convicted of manslaughter, not second degree murder. And?

The court concluded that the statements cited by Willie “are not adequate provocation that should cause an ordinary person to lose their cool reflection and to act in this utterly impulsive fashion.” The conviction of second degree murder was affirmed. The case is Louisiana v. Cheatham, 519 So.2d 188 (La. Ct. App. 1987).

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