DEATH PENALTY PROCEEDINGS --
RETURN OF VERDICT (FIRST STAGE)
If you find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of [Specify Crime Charged], you shall return a verdict of guilty by marking the Verdict Form appropriately. If you have a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt to the charge of [Specify Crime Charged], or if you find that the State has failed to prove each element of [Specify Crime Charged] beyond a reasonable doubt, you shall return a verdict of not guilty by marking the Verdict Form appropriately. The issue of punishment is not before you at this time.
Notes on Use
This instruction should be given along with the other appropriate closing instructions in Chapter 9 at the conclusion of the first stage of a case where the death penalty is sought.
Unless sentence enhancement for prior convictions is sought, bifurcation is appropriate only if the prosecution has filed a bill of particulars alleging aggravating circumstances in order to seek the death penalty. If no bill of particulars is filed, the death penalty is not available and it is error for the trial court to conduct a separate punishment stage. See Cooper v. State, 1995 OK CR 22, ¶ 3, 894 P.2d 420, 421-22; McCormick v. State, 1993 OK CR 6, ¶ 39, 845 P.2d 896, 902-03. The trial court should use OUJI-CR 10-12 and 10-13, rather than this instruction, where the death penalty is not sought and the case is tried in a single stage.
A Verdict Form to go with this instruction is provided in OUJI-CR 4-67, infra.