WEST VIRGINIA CRIMINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS, 6th Edition (W.V.C.J.I.)
Part C. Defenses
WV DEFENSES: SELF-DEFENSE
If the defendant was not the aggressor, and had reasonable grounds to believe and actually did believe that he or she was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which he or she could save him or herself only by using deadly force against his or her assailant, he or she had the right to employ deadly force in order to defend him or herself. By ‘deadly force’ is meant force which is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm.
In order for the defendant to have been justified in the use of deadly force in self-defense, he or she must not have provoked the assault on him or her or have been the aggressor. Mere words, without more, do not constitute provocation or aggression.
The circumstances under which he acted must have been such as to produce in the mind of a reasonably prudent person, similarly situated, the reasonable belief that the other person was then about to kill him her or to do him or her serious bodily harm. In addition, the defendant must have actually believed that he or she was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm 3 and that deadly force must be used to repel it.
If evidence of self-defense is present, the State of West Virginia must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense. If you find that the State has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self- defense, you must find the defendant not guilty. 5 In other words, if you have a reasonable doubt whether or not the defendant acted in self-defense, your verdict must be not guilty.