COM. OF PENNSYLVANIA v. BIRON, 4 U.S. 125 (1792)

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U.S. Supreme Court

COM. OF PENNSYLVANIA v. BIRON, 4 U.S. 125 (1792)

4 U.S. 125 (Dall.)

The Commonwealth versus
Margaret Biron.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

September Term, 1792

INDICTMENT for the murder of Jane M'Glaughlin. It appeared in evidence, on the trial, that Hugh M'Glaughlin, the husband of the deceased, rented from the prisoner, a part of the house, in which she lived; that on the 10th of June 1792, while it rained hard, a noise was heard at the house, and the deceased was attempting to get in; that she said, 'You whore, let me come in;' and the prisoner said, 'You whore, you sha'nt;' that the deceased appeared to be then in liquor, though by all accounts, she was a very quiet woman; that the prisoner opened the door, and she and the deceased began to struggle, when the former pushed the latter down the steps, and her head struck the wall; that the deceased seemed to be bent by her fall, and the prisoner came out of the house, saying, 'Ah! this is the way I am troubled with this kind of people', her husband has just left her in this situation;' that the witness observed, 'You pushed her down,' to which she answered, 'I did not;' but, after the deceased was carried into the house, she acknowledged that she had done it, and said she was in a great passion; and that the deceased and the prisoner used before

Page 4 U.S. 125, 126

to quarrel, but had not been seen to strike each other. On examining the deceased, Dr. Hutchinson said, that he found considerable injury done to the bone on one side of the head; but that the wound was not necessarily mortal; and he thought, from appearances, that the deceased must have been intoxicated, at the time of her fall.

By the COURT:

The circumstances present to the consideration of the jury, a case of atrocious manslaughter; but, in our opinion, no more.

Verdict, guilty of manslaughter, but not guilty of murder. [Footnote 1]


Footnote 1 The indictment was tried in a Court of Oyer and Terminer, in Philadelphia county, on the 19th of November 1792.

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