Types and Degrees of Homicide Essay

Types and Degrees of Homicide

Voluntary Manslaughter

Tom allegedly arrived at his apartment one evening to find his friend Bill in a compromising situation with his wife, Mary. He then pulled his drawer, drew out a gun and shot both of them, killing them instantly. Schmalleger (2006), a renowned law scholar explains that to be guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, that Tom was provoked beyond control. The provocation, however, has to be proven to be adequate, i.e. for an individual with a reasonable personality to lose self-control. On the other hand, intent to kill has to be clearly seen in the action of the defendant (Schmalleger, 2006).

Negligent Homicide

Three hundred people on board the Atlantic Airline allegedly died as a result of the negligence caused by one of the engineers who forgot a masking tape while in the process of cleaning the airbus. Proof has to be shown that the conduct of the defendant was the resultant cause of the victims death and that it was due to negligence. Fundamentally, the defendant should have been aware of the risks associated with the uncaring act but recklessly ignored it.

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Imperfect Self-Defense

On the 24thnight of January 2010, Nick is alleged to have struck to death, using a baton, a street boy who had hit him on the neck and made away with his . For the defendant to plead guilty to imperfect self-defense, it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that while mitigating punishment for the , he must have used a much deadlier force than expected. The honesty of this has to be established. Ormerod (2005) however notes that it still has to be proven that the belief he had of self-defense was unreasonable and the actions that he so far took, was to oppose an attack.

Second-Degree Murder

According to allegations brought forward, Richards gun accidentally went off in a public market in Johannesburg resulting in the death of three people. Richard did not put on the safety clasp of the gun and therefore, in the review of the evidence tabled, the defendant could be guilty of second-degree murder. Ormerod (2005) argues that the defendant neither pre-meditated nor intentionally caused the murder. The defendants action of endangering the lives of other people is therefore guilty of second-degree murder.

Capital Murder

It is alleged that Peter Matthews shot and killed a sheriff on duty at the Wessington Court who was trying to block an attempted kidnapping of a lad. He later was arrested by other officers after his the confrontation. From Peters action, it is alleged that it was intentional and therefore guilty of committing a capital murder on the said officer on duty. Clear evidence of intent killing is quite definite in this case and would be proven beyond reasonable doubt (Hall, 1960).


For all these types of criminal offences, the criminal has to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and an adequate penalty meted. With critical investigations done, evidence has to be produced in court for final conviction. However, differentiating between all these kinds of murder counts is an uphill task, and making a final decision lies in the professional hands of the jury.

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