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Name: People v. Sparks
Case #: D034981
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/03/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. Granted 8/15/01 as S098290
Summary

According to the prosecution theory, Sparks used a pillow to cover the face of the victim so she could not breathe and ceased struggling. At trial, Sparks argued that he had used the pillow only to muffle her screams, not to suffocate or harm her. Photographs of the victim showed evidence of partial asphyxiation. He was charged with use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. On appeal, he argued that the court erred because it did not instruct sua sponte that he must have intended to use the pillow as a deadly or dangerous weapon. The appellate court here agreed, and found the error prejudicial because the evidence of Sparks’ intent was conflicting.