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What is Murder?
Murder refers to an unlawful homicide with malice aforethought, and often is referred to as criminal homicide. A murder involves causing death of another person exclusive of legal justification. Murder is considered to be the most serious crime that deserves the harshest punishment because it causes enormous grief to people close to the victim and it is damaging to the good order of the society (Schmalleger, 2008).
How Does Murder Differ from Homicide?
Homicide primarily refers to the willful killing of another person, whereas murder is an unlawful homicide. Despite the fact that murder and homicide are both used in describing the act of taking another person’s life, there is a primary difference concerning the circumstances of the charges. In this regard, homicide involves killing another human being, whereas a murder needs the intent to take another person’s life. Homicide is often used in the description of any instance of death initiated by another person. However, there are mitigating situations that shape the conviction of homicide. On the other hand, when an individual is charged with murder, their charges extend beyond homicide to include the malicious intent to kill. The circumstances imply that homicide is not always illegal, whereas murder is always illegal (Beeghley, 2003). This is because there is the possibility of homicide being excusable and justifiable, whereas murder is unjustifiable. An excusable or justifiable homicide does not involve the criminal intent to kill, for instance, killing in self-defense and protection of valuable possessions in case of robbery.
How Does Your State of Residence Define and Address the Degrees of Murder?
The classifications of degrees of murder depend on the gravity of the criminal act and the intent of the person behind the murder. The classifications of murder in the state include first degree, second degree, and third degree (manslaughter) murders (Schmalleger, 2008).
First-degree murder is distinctive from other murder classifications in the sense that it is premeditated and involves malice aforethought. The state of residence also considers other unintentional killing associated with rape, arson, kidnapping, and robbery as first-degree murder. They are usually considered as felony murder. Second-degree murder is carried without premeditation and is considered a true crime of passion and unlawful killing, wherein the intent to kill and the killing itself take place concurrently. Murder is classified as second degree if the killing immediately follows an insults or abuse. Third-degree murder refers to a criminal act to harm someone that always ends in death. Third-degree murder does not involve the intent to kill (Schmalleger, 2008).