Percy Shelley and Harriet Westbrook were married. At first, their marriage was happy, and a year after they married, their daughter was born. Soon after that, however, Shelley realized he no longer loved Westbrook. Though they conceived another child a year after the birth of the daughter, shortly after the conception Shelley ran off with Mary Godwin. Westbrook gave birth to Shelley’s son, and proceeded to raise the children by herself.
Shelley and Godwin wanted to marry each other, but couldn’t do so while Harriet was alive. (For purposes of this problem, assume that divorce is illegal.) Shelley often bemoaned his plight to his friend Lord Byron, a nasty character who had the reputation of being “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” It was widely rumored that Byron had in the past tried to poison Samuel Coleridge by giving him tainted opium, and had killed both Alexander Pushkin and Vladimir Lensky in duels. Byron often expressed his sympathy to Shelley, and would sometimes say that something needed to be done about Shelley’s problem. “Can Westbrook swim?,” he at one point asked Shelley. “No, she can’t,” Shelley responded. “Hmm,” Byron said.
One day, Shelley returned to the family home to see his children (who were then four and two). Though Westbrook naturally felt herself quite wronged by Shelley, she still loved him; and though Shelley by this point hated her and wished her dead, he was still sexually attracted to her. After the children went to bed, Shelley and Westbrook started to have sex (though Westbrook remained mostly clothed).
Unbeknownst to Shelley, Godwin had suspected that Shelley was still attracted to Westbrook, and followed him. She lurked outside the house, spying on the couple, and drinking a bottle of wine to drown her sorrows. She saw pretty much everything Shelley and Westbrook were doing, and when she saw Westbrook and Shelley start to have sex, Godwin ran in, armed with a pitchfork. Godwin stabbed at Westbrook, but missed her.
Westbrook ran off, fleeing Godwin. Shelley ran after Godwin, but Westbrook wrongly assumed that Shelley and Godwin were in league with each other, so fled both.
Shelley’s and Westbrook’s house was near a river, and Westbrook ran onto a bridge spanning the river. To her surprise, she ran into Byron — whom she had long suspected, it turns out wrongly, of having had a homosexual affair with Shelley — standing in the middle of the bridge. “You somdomite!,” she shouted at Byron, temporarily distracted from her attempt to run away from Shelley and Godwin, and started punching him. (Assume that “somdomite” would generally be understood as a pejorative for “homosexual.”)
Byron then pushed Westbrook, who as a result fell off the bridge into the water. Shelley and Godwin, who by then had caught up, didn’t try to save Westbrook, and Westbrook drowned.
Assume that all this happens in the state of Xanadu, in the present day. Xanadu is generally a common-law jurisdiction, but its courts are open to influence from the Model Penal Code (not including § 210.3(1)(b) [extreme-disturbance manslaughter], which we didn’t study) and from the various state law rules that we studied in class.
Assume that § 1939.9.1 of the Xanadu Penal Code provides that “Burglary, defined as entering the dwelling of another with the intent to commit a crime therein, is a felony.”
In case you find it helpful, you may read and consider Model Penal Code § 2.03, which you may assume all jurisdictions (even non-MPC ones) would apply by analogy. Do not discuss any insanity defense.
Analyze what charges — under criminal law rules that we studied in class (not including assault or battery), or that are defined in this problem — can be brought against Shelley, Godwin, and Byron (though do not discuss charges that can be brought against Byron as to Coleridge, Pushkin, and Lensky).
Just for fun, folks — you don't really have to take eight hours and then post the answer in the comments. In fact, if you'd rather just try to catch all the allusions and post those in the comments, that would be great. I'm sure you'll catch some I didn't even intend to make!