Elements to prove murder

2014-03-03 00:00

WHAT elements does the state need to prove murder?

Murder is an action, like stabbing, with the intent to kill. The action must be both done illegally and with intent. Intent can be in different forms: direct intent means the accused wanted and did kill through an action. Indirect intent is when the accused causes damage aside from murder, like shooting through and breaking a window.

What is intent?

Intent is not only the intention to do something, but also doing it while knowing the action is illegal.

What does premeditated murder mean?

Premeditated murder is when the accused has planned the killing in advance, which can contribute to the sentencing. The state must prove all the elements of murder beyond reasonable doubt.

The accused does not have to prove anything. If the State cannot prove intent, it will try to prove the accused is guilty of culpable homicide.

What elements does the state need to prove culpable homicide?

A court can find someone guilty of culpable homicide even if the accused was not charged with culpable homicide. The state has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a death was the result of a criminal and negligent action.

An accused will be negligent if a reasonable person in the same circumstance would have foreseen the action would lead to death and a reasonable person would have taken steps to prevent the death. An accused’s actions will be checked against a reasonable person’s actions. A reasonable person is an ordinary, normal man.

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