Murder is the most serious of all crimes and is the only crime for which you may be put to death in Georgia. With that said, death by lethal injection sentences are becoming rarer and rarer. However, life without parole sentences, or death in prison sentences, are still commonplace for murder convictions. If you have been charged with killing another person, get a defense attorney on your side as soon as possible.
Murder comes in three different shapes and sizes in Georgia: malice, murder in the second degree, and felony. A Newnan murder lawyer can also provide more information about these categories in a private consultation.
Malice murder is considered the most serious of the murder charges. An example of malice murder would be a scenario commonly called “premeditated murder.” A situation where someone systematically plans the murder of another and then carries out that plan. For instance, if a wife suspects her husband to be cheating on her and she develops an elaborate plan to kill him, that would be considered malice murder.
For an example of felony murder let’s look at Jack and Jim. Jack and Jim are at home and they are low on cash. So, they decide to “hit a lick” on the local corner store. They don’t want to hurt anyone, but they are going to show the clerk their gun to scare her, demand the money from the drawer, and get out of there quickly.
Their plan, however, takes a turn for the worst. The clerk tells them no–she won’t turn the money over. So, still not wanting to seriously hurt anyone, or for that matter kill anyone, Jim decided to strike the clerk with the firearm – hoping to gain her compliance. When he struck her with the firearm, however, she fell and hit her head and died.
By no means was Jim trying to kill the clerk and he in no way intentionally killed her. He nonetheless will likely be charged with felony murder under state law because during the commission of committing an armed robbery he caused the death of the store clerk. An experienced lawyer could walk you through your Newnan murder case and determine what your options are through the criminal process.
There are only three sentencing options for someone convicted of malice murder.
1. Life without parole – a person sentenced to life without parole will serve the remainder of their time on earth in the state penitentiary with no possibility of ever being released, assuming their conviction stands.
2. Life with parole – a person sentenced to life with parole is sentenced to serve the remainder of their life in prison as well. With this sentence, however, the person becomes eligible for parole after serving thirty years of their sentence.
3. The death penalty – Georgia sanctions killing its own citizens when they are convicted of committing malice murder.
To commit murder in the second degree, you must first commit cruelty to children in the second degree. Cruelty to children in the second degree occurs when any person commits the offense of cruelty to children in the second degree when such person with criminal negligence causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
This law is only a few years old and defense attorney’s in Newnan are still preparing for how prosecutors plan to utilize this law that the legislature has given them, especially in murder cases. Listed below are a couple of scenarios that we may see moving forward.
1. A child is left alone for several hours with no supervision and for some reason, the child dies.
2. A three-year-old child is left under the supervision of a seven-year-old child and the three-year-old dies. That could be charged as second-degree murder.
The difference in sentencing options a judge has between felony murder and murder in the second is huge. The prosecutor gets to set the tone from the very beginning on whether to present felony murder charges or murder in the second degree charges to the grand jury.
You do not need to be reminded that murder is a serious charge. Don’t hesitate, contact us today, get Ryan in your corner, and do not fight these charges alone. A Newnan murder lawyer is here to help you.
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC