Jargon: Classifications of Murder

canstockphoto15852829Murder isn’t just murder. There’s a lot of subcategories that tie strongly to the motive. Understanding the type of murder is understanding your murderer. So here’s a list of definitions to the types of murder.

Homicide is the act of taking the life of another.

Criminal Homicide is a homicide that is neither excusable or justifiable.There must be premeditation, intent to kill or to commit bodily harm; the perpetrator must be engaged in a dangerous act with wanton disregard for human life, such as robbery, rape, aggravated assault, etc.

Murder: Killing with malice aforethought or premeditation. The law presumes all homicides brought to trial to be murder unless the accused can prove there was an excuse or the act was justifiable.

Manslaughter: an unlawful and felonious killing without premeditation or malice aforethought

Voluntary Manslaughter: the unlawful killing of another committed in the heat of passion caused by adequate provocation. It is not murder even though there was intent to kill or commit great bodily harm.

Involuntary Manslaughter: an unlawful homicide without intent to kill, e.g. as in negligence or while perpetrating an offense other than burglary, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault.

Excusable Homicide: the outcome of an accident or misadventure while doing a lawful act in a lawful manner without negligence, such as a hunter shooting a concealed person.

Justifiable Homicide: “authorized” killing to prevent the commission of a felony such as rape, robbery, etc. or the escape of an armed perpetrator while performing a legal duty under the scope of authority and without negligence, such as a law officer having authorization to shoot to kill.

Want to read more? Check out:

Writing a Murder Mystery: Motives for Murder


2 thoughts on “Jargon: Classifications of Murder

  1. You could relate these terms to how writers feel about rejection letters… crimes against our fiction. Great post, I’ve followed the others you’ve written on the subject and found them a wonderful help to my current project, a thriller I’m writing. Thanks

  2. Pingback: Index of A to Z Blog Challenge Articles – April 2014 | JC Gatlin - Author

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