Girouard v. State

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Girouard v. State
Court Court of Appeals of Maryland
Date decided


D was married to the victim for two months previous to the murder. They were both in the army. On the night of the murder, the two held a heated argument, during which the victim taunted the D. She said that he reminded her of her abusive father. Victim told D that she filed charges relating to abuse with the Judge Advocate General's Office (JAG) and he would be court martialed. She asked him what he was going to do. He lunged at her with the kitchen knife that he had hidden under his pillow and stabbed her 19 times. He tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists, but when that didn't work, he called the police.

Procedural History

D convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 22 years of incarceration, 10 of which were suspended.


Whether words alone are provocation adequate to justify a conviction of manslaughter rather than one of second degree murder.


Manslaughter is the catchall for murders that lack the malice essential to convict for murder. D said that there was provocation.


Words alone are not sufficient provocation.


"The standard is one of reasonableness; it does not and should not focus on the peculiar frailties of mind of the [defendant]. The standard of reasonableness has not been met here."