Acworth, Ga. and Atlanta, Ga. – Horrific news concerning fatal shootings in the Metro Atlanta area last night has now made national headlines and has even prompted a response from the President of the United States.
The shootings resulted in the serious injuries of many as well as the fatalities of at least eight women (police are still investigating). The sole suspect was detained in Crisp County by Georgia State Patrol Troopers at 8:00 pm EST. Officers believe he was attempting to flee the state of Georgia, but he is now in custody and has been extradited to Cherokee County.
The shootings happened at various massage parlors. The first took place at Young's Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth followed by two more shootings at the Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta.
According to reports, the suspect confessed to the shootings and even gave a possible motive. Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds stated that he admitted to having a “sexual addiction,” and that he frequently visited local massage parlors. He has stated that he targeted these businesses as they represented “a temptation he wanted to eliminate.”
As of right now, he is stating that the shooting spree was not racially motivated.
The suspect will be making his first court appearance in Cherokee County Superior Court tomorrow morning.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I will focus today's post on the multitude of homicide crimes that are defined by Georgia Law so as to clarify any of the possible charges that the suspect may be facing.
Homicide Offenses in Georgia
By law, homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of one person by another. There are several different types of homicide. In Georgia, the delineation is between murder and manslaughter.
First, let's start with murder. There are two different types of murder charges in Georgia – Malice Murder (Murder) and Felony Murder.
Malice Murder in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code as:
“A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, express or implied, causes the death of another human being.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-1(a).
The offense of murder requires malice. Malice is legally defined as having a wicked or corrupt motive or an intention to do evil. Malice is implied by the Court when there is no considerable provocation done by the alleged victim. The penalty for a murder conviction is a life sentence in prison without parole, the death penalty, or life in prison.
Felony Murder in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code as:
“A person commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-1(c).
This is possibly the most misunderstood in regard to all the different types of criminal homicide offenses.
A person is concerned in the commission of a crime if he or she:
- Directly commits the crime;
- Causes some other person to commit the crime under such circumstances that the other person is not guilty of any crime either in fact or because of legal incapacity;
- Aids or abets in the commission of the crime; or
- Advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to commit the crime.
In order to convict the accused person, the prosecution must show that the accused person either attempted or completed a felony that is deemed serious or inherently dangerous under Georgia law. The penalty for a felony murder conviction is a life sentence in prison without parole, the death penalty, or life in prison.
Next, let's look at manslaughter. Manslaughter is divided into two separate offenses by law – Involuntary Manslaughter and Voluntary Manslaughter.
Involuntary Manslaughter in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code as:
A person commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act when he causes the death of another human being without any intention to do so:
1) by the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony;
2) or by the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm. O.C.G.A. §16-5-3.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter by the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony, the punishment can include between one- and ten-years imprisonment.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter by the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm, the punishment can include up to a year in jail, a fine, or both.
Voluntary Manslaughter in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code as:
A person commits the offense of voluntary manslaughter when he or she causes the death of another human being under circumstances which would otherwise be murder and if he acts solely as a result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person; however, if there should have been an interval between the provocation and the killing sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, of which the jury in all cases shall be the judge, the killing shall be attributed to deliberate revenge and be punished as murder. O.C.G.A. §16-5-2.
If convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Georgia, the punishment can include one to twenty years of imprisonment.
Homicide is, without a doubt, one of the most serious offenses that a person can be accused of committing. If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of committing a homicide, call our offices today.
It is important to note that just because a person has been accused of committing a criminal offense does not mean that he or she is guilty of the alleged crime. We can help you today.