When a person is first accused of homicide (the killing of a person), it’s usually referred to as an “open count of murder.”

The prosecution will later attempt to charge the accused with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.


There are two basic classifications of murder: first-degree/felony murder and second-degree.

First-degree murder is the killing of one human being by another without lawful justification or excuse, by any of the means with which death may be caused:

(1) by any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing;

(2) in the commission of or attempt to commit any felony; or

(3) by any act greatly dangerous to the lives of others, indicating a depraved mind regardless of human life.

Second-degree murder is a person who kills another human being without lawful justification or excuse if in performing the acts which cause the death he knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another. A homicide is not second-degree murder if the accused is acting upon sufficient provocation, upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.


Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.

Voluntary manslaughter is manslaughter committed upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.

Involuntary manslaughter is manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.

Without question Murder/Manslaughter is one of the most serious things with which a person can be charged. A person charged with any of these crimes need to contact an attorney for assistance right away.

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Mollie McGraw Esq.
Margaret Strickland Esq.