ARSON IN THE FIRST DEGREE - ELEMENTS
No person may be convicted of arson in the first degree unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:
First, a willful and malicious;
[Second, (setting fire to)/burning/(destroying in whole or in part by use of any (explosive device)/accelerant/(ignition device)/(heat-producing device/substance)/(while manufacturing/(attempting to manufacture) [specify controlled dangerous substance listed in 63 O.S. 2011, § 2-322]);
Third, (a building/structure)/(the contents of a building/structure);
Fourth, which was inhabited/occupied by one or more persons;
Fifth, caused/aided/counseled/procured by the defendant].
[Second, (causing another person to be burned)/(aiding/counseling/procuring the burning of another person);
Third, by (setting fire to)/(burning by the use of any (explosive device)/accelerant/(ignition device)/(heat-producing device/substance))/(while manufacturing/(attempting to manufacture) [specify controlled dangerous substance listed in 63 O.S. 2011, § 2-322]].
Statutory Authority: 21 O.S. 2011, § 1401.
The Committee interprets the statute strictly to require "willfully and maliciously" to apply to all the elements in the statute, including "while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance in violation of subsection G of Section 2-401 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes." See State v. Davis, 2011 OK CR 22, ¶ 5, 260 P.3d 194, 195 ("This Court is committed to the rule of strict construction in the application of criminal statutes."); Durant v. State, 2008 OK CR 17, ¶ 8, 188 P.3d 192, 194 ("The purpose of strict construction is not to reward those who commit acts which should be punishable. Rather, it is to ensure that when liberty is at stake, all citizens have fair and clear warning of what conduct is prohibited, and, equally important, the severity of punishment for any infraction.").
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