first degree murder

(redirected from Murder in the First Degree)
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first degree murder

n. although it varies from state to state, it is generally a killing which is deliberate and premeditated (planned, after lying in wait, by poison or as part of a scheme), in conjunction with felonies such as rape, burglary, arson, involving multiple deaths, the killing of certain types of people (such as a child, a police officer, a prison guard, a fellow prisoner), or with certain weapons, particularly a gun. The specific criteria for first degree murder are established by statute in each state and by the United States Code in federal prosecutions. It is distinguished from second degree murder in which premeditation is usually absent, and from manslaughter which lacks premeditation and suggests that at most there was intent to harm rather than to kill. (See: murder, second degree murder, manslaughter, felony murder doctrine)

References in classic literature ?
I said we had eighty thousand convicts employed on the railways in America--all of them under sentence of death for murder in the first degree.
WORCESTER - The one thing all 15 of them had in common was the charge they were facing - murder in the first degree.
Indeed, the jury could well have found premeditation and deliberation for murder in the first degree upon this evidence.
There are three main degrees - murder in the first degree, murder in the second, or murder in the third degree, which is really manslaughter.