ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (CN) – A man who killed a romantic rival in front of his home was a victim of an improper jury instruction, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled. But since Cecil Boyett failed to prove that his rival attempted to commit a violent felony, he is unable to claim self-defense, and his murder conviction stands.
Boyett was convicted of killing Deborah Rhodes, the former love interest of his fiancée Renate Wilder. The jury was instructed that self-defense applied only if the intruder was inside the home.
However, Justice Serna said an intruder should not be allowed to come up to the front door.
“We cannot accept the position that defense of habitation requires an intruder to cross the threshold of the defendant’s home,” Serna ruled.
Although the jury instruction was incorrect, Boyett was still guilty because Wilder did not prove that Rhodes was forcing her way into his home.