Have you Been Charged with Murder in Georgia?
Felony murder, murder, first-degree murder, and second-degree murder are all terms that refer to the killing of another. However, without an experienced lawyer, these legal terms can seem overwhelming and impossible to distinguish. That is why you need an Attorney who is familiar with all of the murder crimes and knows the complexities of each one. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Murder Attorneys have decades of experience and are here to help you with your case. Don't wait and try to figure it out on your own! It is crucial to your case to get help from the very beginning! Call us today if you or a loved one has been charged with murder. A charge is not the same as a conviction so let us work with you to develop a strong defense!
Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §16-5-1(a)
A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, express or implied, causes the death of another human being.
Case law has defined malice as a wicked or corrupt motive or an intention to do evil and which the result is fatal and an unlawful objective to kill without justification or mitigation.
Express malice is the deliberate intention to unlawfully take the life of another human being, which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.
Murder in the Second Degree
O.C.G.A. §16-5-1 states that a person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when, in the commission of cruelty to children in the second degree, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.
Georgia Case Law
A suspect was convicted of murder when he beat a 78-year-old woman to death. Hall v. State, 292 Ga. 701, (2013). The defendant, Hall, was driven by a friend to borrow money from the victim. Hall entered the house and came back out approximately 35 minutes later. The victim's body was found lying face down on her kitchen floor, and she had been struck on the head six or seven times and died from blunt force head injuries. The Court found Hall guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and he was convicted of murder.
What Needs to be Proven
To be convicted of murder in Georgia, the State must demonstrate that the suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Either express or implied malice must be shown to be found guilty.
Penalty for Murder in Georgia
In Georgia, the penalty for a murder conviction will be life in prison without parole, the death penalty, or life in prison.
The penalty for murder in the second degree will be a prison term for a period of ten to thirty years.
Both murder and murder in the second degree will be felony convictions.
Defenses for Murder in Georgia
Defense of Others: Defending others may be a justification for murder. However, it requires that your response is reasonable and that there was a rational fear that the person was going to die or receive serious bodily injury. i.e. if someone punched someone one time and were walking away, killing them would not be reasonable. On the other hand, if you saw a person getting beaten to death in an alley and shot the person doing the beating, that could be an appropriate response and may not be considered murder.
The Exercise of Duty: Police officers or other law enforcement officers may kill someone in the course of their duties but without malice or recklessness that would generally constitute murder. Therefore, it is not considered murder if done in the exercise of their duty.
Accident: Accidents can negate the intent element necessary for the crime of murder. An example is if two people were running and one person stopped because there were some steep stairs but the other person subsequently bumped into the first person causing them to fall and they die. There was no intent by the second person to kill the other person therefore, the Court may acquit them of a murder charge.
Lack of Malice or showing of malignant heart: If the Prosecution fails to prove that the suspect committed the murder with malice or with an abandoned or malignant heart, then the defendant cannot be guilty of murder. As malice involves a deliberate, intention to kill a human being, your Lawyer could try to demonstrate that the killing was more of an accident or that you had provocation.
Self Defense: To be successful on a self-defense argument, your Attorney must prove that the force used was reasonable to resist a reasonable fear or severe injury or death and that the threat of force was imminent. The suspect cannot be the one that instigated the threatening situation and the force used to defend themselves must be proportional to the force used by the attacker.
What are Not Defenses to Murder
They threatened me with murder: The Court has found that mere words cannot be a sufficient justification to kill another even if you believed your life to be in danger. Self-defense is not warranted for just words; it requires some action on the part of the attacker.
The victim was the wrong person: Crimes of murder do not demand that the necessary element of intent to kill must be directed towards the person who was actually killed. This notion is called transferred intent. If you had the requisite intent to kill one person, but another gets killed, that intent to kill gets transferred to the victim, and you could still be convicted of murder.
Don’t wait to schedule your free consultation with Lawson and Berry and their team of Murder Attorneys. We are here to help 24/7 including nights, weekends and holidays. We care about your case just as much as you do so let our knowledge and experience work for you! We promise to build the best defense possible because we know the law and how to make it work for you!