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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Arthur Don Harrod (Don) and Rickey Glen Harrod (Rickey) were brothers. They lived with their mother Lamona Harrod in her house. Don’s wife Janet and a renter also lived in the house. The brothers had a history of fighting before this incident. Don was known to carry a knife, with which he had previously threatened Rickey. One evening in summer 2003, Don and Janet argued with each other. Upset at Don’s disrespect for his mother’s home, Rickey followed them inside to their bedroom, smashing an overhead light with his fist on the way. When Don stated the matter should be taken outside, appellant left first. On his way out, he broke the front door. Rickey tried to get a gun from a truck occupied by two women. When he was unsuccessful, he grabbed a baseball bat from his truck and returned to the porch where Don was standing with a knife. Rickey swung the bat and struck Don on the arm, knocking off his wrist watch. Rickey then swung around and struck again, slamming the bat against the side of Don’s head. In Rickey’s own words, when he hit Don, he “gave it all he got” and “hit him too hard.” Don fell to the ground. Rickey took the bat, walked away and got in the truck with the two women. They drove to Denison where the women lived. On the way, Rickey threw the bat into a ditch. Rickey called his sister. She advised him to return to McKinney. Rickey returned, was interviewed by the police, and ultimately was arrested. Although paramedics attended to Don and a helicopter transported him to Dallas Methodist Hospital, Don never regained consciousness. After spending almost a week on life support, Don died as a result of blunt force trauma to his head. The trial court’s charge contained both abstract and application instructions on the law of murder, self-defense and provoking the difficulty. The charge also contained a general instruction requiring unanimity of the jury’s verdict. A general verdict form allowed two findings: guilty or not guilty. There were no objections to the court’s charge. During its deliberations, the jury did not send out any notes. Upon the return of its guilty verdict, the jury was not polled. In his first issue, Rickey complains the trial court’s charge did not require the jury to be unanimous in its rejection of a single element of self-defense. According to Rickey, the only contested issue in this case was self-defense, and the lack of a charge requiring unanimity “lessen[ed] the State’s burden of proof” and undermined the core of his defense. Without objection, the trial court’s charge included an instruction on “provoking the difficulty.” In his second issue, appellant contended the trial court reversibly erred by giving such instruction because the evidence was insufficient to support its submission. Rickey argued that he was harmed by the trial court’s provocation instruction because it denied him “the right to present a defense unencumbered by an instruction unsupported by the evidence.” HOLDING:Affirmed. The court held that the jury was not required to agree unanimously on the specific component of self-defense on which it was not persuaded. It must only unanimously agree on its rejection of the fact of self-defense, the court stated. The court then concluded that there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could find Rickey’s acts or words or both caused the attack upon him by Don. Rickey, the court stated, knew from past experience Don had a propensity for violence. Notwithstanding that knowledge, the court stated, Rickey intervened in a verbal dispute not involving him ostensibly because he believed Don was destroying his mother’s home. The court held that the trial court did not err in submitting an instruction to the jury on the factual issue of provocation.

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