first degree murder


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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 periodicals archive ?
Lionel was arrested and charged as an adult with first degree murder.
A Manitoba jury took less than one hour to acquit a Brandon woman of a charge of first degree murder in May.
If convicted of first degree murder - involving premeditation or "extreme atrocity" - she could face the electric chair.