What is the Law on Murder in Missouri and What are the Punishments for it?
Murder is a universal crime involving the killing of a person. According to the law on murder in Missouri, there are two main types of murder, viz. first-degree murder and second-degree murder.
First Degree Murder in Missouri
First-Degree murder is the most serious homicide crime in the state of Missouri. According to Section 565.020 of the Missouri code, a prosecutor can charge a defendant with first-degree murder if he killed another person after proper premeditation and deliberation.
The key requirement for proving that the defendant committed a first-degree murder is to show that he acted deliberately and intentionally to kill a person. He should also have acted with a legally justified reason. A good example of a legally justified reason for a person is a cop shooting a terrorist when he is about to kill other persons.
Punishment for First Degree Murder in Missouri
First-Degree murder is a class A felony in Missouri. If the convict is 18 years or above at the time of the offense, the punishment is death or life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole or probation. The release of the convict is only possible through the act of the governor.
If the convict did not reach his eighteenth birthday at the time of committing the offense, he will be punished under Section 565.033. According to the provisions of Section 565.033, a person who is aged under 18 years at the time of committing the murder can be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, life imprisonment with parole, or through imprisonment between 30 years and 40 years.
At the time of deciding the punishment, the jury or the judge will consider several factors like the defendant's intellectual capacity, maturity of mind, the defendant's background, possibility of the rehabilitation of the defendant, extent of defendant's participation in the crime, familial or peer pressure in the crime, and the degree of defendant's culpability.
A major exception to the imposition of the death penalty for first-degree murder is mental illness and retardation. If the defendant's counsel can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is mentally ill/retarded at the time of committing the crime, he will exempt from death punishment.
Second Degree Murder in Missouri
According to Section 565.021 of the Missouri code, a person is guilty of second-degree murder if he caused the death of a person knowingly, or caused the death of another person while intending to inflict physical injury.
Punishment for Second Degree Murder in Missouri
Second-Degree murder is not punishable by death in Missouri. It is treated as a class A felony. A class A felony is the most serious form of a felony in Missouri and is punishable with life imprisonment without parole or with imprisonment between 10 to 30 years.
Voluntary Manslaughter in Missouri
A person will be guilty of voluntary manslaughter if he kills another person out of anger and passion before he had time to calm his emotions. Two good examples of voluntary manslaughter is a person acting in self-defense and killing the other person while overreacting and killing spouse when he/she is caught committing adultery.
Punishment for Voluntary Manslaughter in Missouri
Voluntary manslaughter is a class B felony in Missouri. A person accused of committing voluntary manslaughter can be punished with a prison sentence ranging between 5 to 15 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Involuntary Manslaughter in Missouri
A person will be guilty of first-degree involuntary manslaughter if he caused the death of a person by acting in a criminally negligent way by being intoxicated and driving a vehicle or a boat.
A person will be guilty of second-degree involuntary manslaughter if he causes the death of another person by any other way than specified under the first degree involuntary manslaughter.
Punishment for Involuntary Manslaughter in Missouri
First-degree involuntary manslaughters are considered to be class B or C felonies. Penalty for a class B felony is a prison sentence between 5 to 15 years and the penalty for class C felony is a prison sentence up to 7 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Second-degree involuntary manslaughters are considered to be class D felonies. They are punished with a prison sentence of up to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.