When he causes the death of another human being under circumstances which would otherwise be murder and if he acts solely as the result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person; however, if there should have been an interval between the provocation and the killing sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, of which the jury in all cases shall be the judge, the killing shall be attributed to deliberate revenge and be punished as murder. O.C.G.A. 16-5-2(a).
Words and Threats
The fear of some danger less than a felony is sufficient provocation (i.e. The Doctrine of Reasonable Fears). While words and threats alone are generally not sufficient provocation, the issue of whether a reasonable person acts as the result of an irresistible passion may be raised by words which are connected to provocative conduct by the victim. Syms v. State, 175 Ga. App. 179 (1985); White v. State, 129 Ga. App. 353 (1973).
Provocation necessary to support a charge of voluntary manslaughter is different from that which will support a claim of self-defense. The distinguishing characteristic between the two is whether the accused was so influenced and excited that he reacted passionately rather than simply in an attempt to defend himself. Browning v. State, 283 Ga. 528 (2008). The cooling off period is the interval between the provocation and the killing. Salyers v. State, 276 Ga. 568 (2003). The theory of mutual combat can reduce murder to voluntary manslaughter. Cone v. State, 193 Ga. 420 (1942).
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