What is First-Degree Murder?
No matter the motive or other circumstances of the act, murder is usually referred to as a homicide when someone kills another person. Murder is specifically defined as the willful and intentional killing of another person or the intentionally inflicting of serious injuries that result in the victim’s death.
t-Degree Murder in Washington
First-degree murder is the most serious kind of homicide in Washington because it is premeditated and done with malice.
The most common definition of first-degree murder is an intentional, premeditated killing. Premeditation is one way that this offense is characterized, but it’s not the only one. The accusation may also be made using the following allegations:
- The death resulted from extreme indifference on the defendant’s part, or
- The defendant was killed while committing a robbery, rape, burglary, arson, or abduction offence.
t-Degree Murder with Aggravation
When specific allegations are made, first-degree murder becomes “aggravated.” On the list of aggravating circumstances are:
- At the moment, the victim was a police officer or other official going about their duties. ● The victim was a newspaper reporter who was covering the defendant’s activities,
- At the time of the murder, the defendant was either on leave, incarcerated for a felony, or both.
- A “murder for hire” arrangement guided the defendant’s actions. ● The defendant participated in a gang initiation,
- The murder took place as the result of a drive-by shooting,
- The victim was an official performing their duties, such as a judge, jury member, witness, or lawyer.
- A murder was committed by the defendant to hide the conduct of another crime,
- A plot resulted in the murder of two or more victims,
- The murder occurred as another significant offense was being committed,
- The victim had a restraining order against the defendant at the time of the death, ● There was a history of abuse, and the crime was one of domestic violence.
Defenses of Charges of Murder
A defendant may contest a murder allegation using various legal arguments. One is for the defendant to prove that a murder was justified. This is referred to as justifiable homicide.
Homicide, or killing, is excused if:
- A defendant accidentally killed a person while engaging in legal activity, and ● The defendant did not conduct in a criminal, careless, or illegal manner.
In some circumstances, an accused person may also have a legitimate legal defense based on self-defense or defending others. The defense of misidentification of the defendant may also be raised by the accused, who may also object to DNA, fingerprint, and other forensic evidence.
Call The Cowlitz Law Group at (360) 355-4465 or (360) 597-7585 ext. 1 or contact us here.