after stating the facts: The defendant objected to the testimony of Robert Bridgers as to the condition of bis children when be found them on bis return to bis home, upon the ground that it was not pertinent to the issue, and bis. counsel argued before us that if it was pertinent for any purpose it should have been restricted by the court in its charge to that purpose. There was no error committed in regard to this testimony. True it is that evidence as to one offense is not admissible against a defendant to prove that be is also guilty of another and distinct crime, the two having no relation to or connection with each other. But there are well defined exceptions to this rule. Proof of another offense is competent to show identity, intent or scienter, and for other purposes. In State v. Murphy, 84 N. C., 744, the court held that “it is important not to confound the principles upon which the two classes of cases rest. On the one band it is admissible to produce evidence of a distinct crime to prove scienter, or to make out res gestae or to ex*694hibit a chain of circumstantial evidence of guilt in respect to the act charged,” and on the other the evidence should be limited to these exceptions and should be excluded when it does not legitimately fall within their scope. Wharton Cr. Law (7 ed.), sec. 650 and 631. And so in State v. Thompson, 97 N. C., 498, this court discussing an objection similar to the one now made, said: “The circumstances strongly pointed to a single agency, and with the ownership of the rope, with which the kindling materials were bound, to the defendant as the guilty author of both of the firings. The facts proved are parts of one continuing transaction, and are but the development of the conduct of the person by whom the successive acts were done,” citing Wharton Cr. Law, sec. 649. While the last case cited is closely analagous to this one, the case of State v. Mace, 118 N. C., 1244, is perhaps more like it. There, the defendant was indicted for murder and this court held it competent to show an assault upon a witness, it being connected with the offense charged and material evidence upon several grounds as tending to show, among other things, that the act was done to prevent a discovery of the defendant’s crime, so that he could escax^e its probable consequences, and also to show that the homicide he was charged to have committed was wilful, intended and not merely accidental, deliberate and premeditated. “Crimes,” says Underhill, “leading up to or connected with the homicide, so -that they form parts of one transaction, may be proved as parts of the res gestae to illustrate the conduct and disposition of the accused about the time of the homicide.” Underhill Crim. Ev., sec. 321. He then says in the same section: “It may be shown that in the same affray or immediately before or after, the accused killed or attempted to kill another person than the one for whose homicide he is on trial,” if the homicides are connected with each other and were committed at or about the same time and place. State v. Graham, 121 N. C., 623; State v. Jeffries, 117 N. C., 727. We think the condition *695of the children was an essential part of the transaction and an important link in the chain of circumstances tending to prove the guilt of the defendant. As His Honor said below, this cannot be separated from the other facts, and we say the story of this horrible tragedy cannot be told without it. There is no error in the ruling of the court and this exception is not sustained. The case of People v. Molineux, 168 N. Y., 264, is not in point. There, the homicides, if there were two committed, were separated by long intervals of time, occurred in widely separated places and were induced manifestly by different motives, and they were not in any way connected with each other, so far as appeared. The other cases cited by the defendant’s counsel are equally inapplicable. They come within the rule and not within the exception.
Nor did the court err in refusing to give the first prayer for instruction. There is no particular formula by which the court must charge the jury upon the intensity of proof. “No set of words is required by the law in regard to the force of circumstantial evidence. All that the law requires .is, that the jury shall be clearly instructed, that unless after due consideration of all the evidence they are 'fully satisfied’ or 'entirely convinced’ or 'satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt’ of the guilt of the defendant, it is their duty to acquit, and every attempt on the part of the courts to lay' down a 'formula’ for the instruction of the jury, by which to 'guage’ the degrees of conviction, has resulted in no good.” We reproduce these words from the opinion delivered by Pearson, C. J., in State v. Parker, 61 N. C., 473, as they present in a clear and forcible manner the true principle of law upon the subject. The expressions we sometimes find in the books as to the degree of proof required for a conviction are not formulas prescribed by the law, but mere illustrations. State v. Sears, 61 N. C., 146; State v. Knox, Ibid., 312; State v. Norwood, 74 N. C., 247. The law requires only that the jury *696shall be fully satisfied of the truth of the charge, due regard being had to the presumption of innocence and to the consequent rule as to the burden of proof. State v. Knox, supra. The presiding judge may select, from the various phrases which have been used, any one that he may think will correctly inform the jury of the doctrine of reasonable doubt, or he may use his own form of expression for that purpose, provided always, the jury are made to understand that they must be fully satisfied of the guilt of the defendant before they can convict him. In State v. Gee, 92 N. C., 161, where the court below had refused to charge according to one of these supposed formulas, and told the jury that it was not a rule of law but only an illustration and intended to impress upon the jury the idea that they should be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt, the court, by Smith, C. J., said: “We do not see in the charge, or in the manner of submitting the case to the jury, any error of which the defendant has a right to complain.” If the judge charges the jury in substance that the law presumes the defendant to be innocent and the burden is upon the state to show his guilt and that upon all of the testimony they must be fully satisfied of his guilt, he has done all that the law requires of him, the manner in which it shall be done being left to his sound discretion to be exercised in view of the facts and circumstances of the particular case.
The second and third prayers were properly refused. We are not aware of any principle of law which requires that footprints should be identified in the manner described. Expressions of the kind used in the prayers may' perhaps be found in the books and, if so, they were intended merely as illustrations to make the law clearer to the jury in some peculiar state of the. facts, and not as containing in themselves any fixed phrase of the law applicable alike to all cases. Besides, in this case it appears that the defendant made tracks at the holly bush and along the hedge row where he was seen *697in the afternoon of the day on which the homicide was committed; that those tracks extended to the creek where be forded it and from'the creek to the house where be lived, and that they corresponded in appearance with the tracks at and near the Bridgers house. There was other strong and convincing proof of the identity of the tracks at the place of the homicide with those of the defendant.
The fourth prayer does not embody a correct principle of law and should not have been given. It is not required that a motive should be shown under the circumstances recited in the prayer. When the evidence is circumstantial, the proof of a motive for committing the crime is relevant and sometimes is important and very potential, as it may carry conviction to the minds of the jurors, when otherwise they would not be convinced. This is all that is meant by the court in the cases cited by counsel. State v. Green, 92 N. C., 779. Murder may be committed without any motive. It is the intention deliberately formed after premeditation, so that it becomes a definite purpose, to kill, and a consequent killing without legal provocation or excuse that constitutes murder in the first degree. The existence of a motive may be evidence to show the degree of the offense, or to establish the identity of the defendant as the slayer, but motive is not an essential element of the crime, nor is it indispensable to a conviction of the person charged with its commission. State v. Wilcox, 132 N. C., 1143; State v. Adams, 136 N. C., 620. There was no error in refusing to give the instruction contained in the fifth and last prayer. If the instruction thus asked to be given to the jury was proper in form and correct in all its parts, we yet do not think it is necessary where the State relies upon a motive, such as robbery, that it should be required to prove that the defendant at the time of the killing knew the fact from which the alleged motive may be inferred, that is, as in this case, that there was money in Bridgers’ house. There is evidence in this record that he had *698knowledge of that fact, though there was no such evidence at the first trial. Bridgers told the defendant that he had money and that his wife kept it for him. It was said in the former opinion that knowledge by the defendant of the fact must be shown in order to prove a motive, when it consists in robbery, but that language was used in reference to .the charge of the court, then being discussed, that the taking of the money from the house was one of the facts which tended to establish the defendant’s guilt, the court holding that this could not be so unless it had been shown either that the 'defendant knew that the money was in the house or that some of the stolen money was found on his person or in his possession, and there was no proof of either of those facts. That money was stolen must be some evidence that the motive was robbery, even though the defendant did not know there was money in the house and even though none of the money was found in his possession. It was not sufficient by itself to show that the defendant was the thief. It may be further said of this prayer that the court is not required to select a single fact from the mass of the testimony and charge the jury that the proof as to that must exclude every reasonable hypothesis except the defendant’s guilt. Such a charge would necessarily mislead the jury by directing their attention to that fact as the pivotal one of the case, and to convincing proof of its existence as the crucial test of his guilt. It is sufficient, in order to preserve and safeguard all the rights of the defendant, to charge the jury as His Honor did, and, as we ■have already shown, is quite in accordance with settled principles of the criminal law, that the jury should weigh all the facts and circumstances which they find to be established by the testimony, giving the defendant the benefit of any reasonable doubt, and unless they are fully satisfied, upon a consideration of all the evidence and under the instructions of the court as to the law, that the defendant is guilty, they should acquit. The court fully explained to the *699jury the difference between the degrees of murder, and in all respects the charge was clear and comprehensive and presented the case to the jury in every conceivable phase. It was substantially responsive to all of the defendant’s prayers for instruction, so far as they are warranted by the facts and the law.
It is proper to refer to the rare skill and ability with which the defense in this case has been conducted by -the learned counsel assigned by the court. The record shows an unusually strong presentation of the defendant’s case in the court below by bis counsel, who have served him with untiring zeal and singular devotion throughout the case, and without any reward for their services, except that which will come to them from the consciousness of duty well performed. In this court, at both bearings, we have bad the benefit of able and exhaustive arguments in the defendant’s behalf. We are constrained, though, after a most attentive consideration of the record, the arguments and the briefs of counsel, to declare that no error was committed by the court at the last trial.