When Can a Person Be Charged With Felony Murder?

 Posted on January 11,2024 in Murder

Murder Defense AttorneyMost people understand that if they intentionally kill someone else or engage in behavior that leads to someone’s death, they may be charged with murder. However, many people do not realize that murder charges may also apply in other situations. When a person is accused of committing a felony offense that directly or indirectly led to someone else’s death, they may still face charges of murder. This is known as felony murder, and it has led to situations where people are sentenced to life in prison even when they were not at the scene where a person was killed or were not directly involved in a victim’s death.

While legal representation is important for anyone who is facing criminal charges, it is especially crucial in situations involving murder or other violent crimes. An attorney with experience defending clients charged with violent crimes can make sure a defendant’s rights are protected, and they can help determine the best defense strategies to use during a case.

Injustices in Felony Murder Cases

48 states have felony murder laws, and the purpose of these laws is to ensure that people are held responsible for the consequences of their actions. That is, if a person engages in criminal activity that they know is likely to cause harm to someone else, and someone dies as a result, they may be charged with murder, even if they did not cause the death directly.

Unfortunately, the ways felony murder laws have been applied have resulted in unjust convictions and sentences for many people. To charge a person with first-degree murder, prosecutors will need to show that they acted with the intent to kill or harm someone else. This requirement does not apply in felony murder cases, since prosecutors only need to prove that a person engaged in criminal activity that led to someone’s death. As a result, many people have been convicted of murder and sentenced to decades in prison when they were not directly involved in a victim’s death. Prosecutors may also use felony murder charges in an attempt to force defendants to accept plea bargains for less serious crimes

Researchers have uncovered a number of examples of cases where people have been charged with felony murder after allegedly engaging in lesser crimes, including:

  • In Florida, a man was detained and handcuffed by police after breaking into some cars, but he faced felony murder charges after his partner fled the scene and struck and killed two bicyclists. He was sentenced to life in prison.

  • In Oklahoma, two men attempted to steal copper wire from a radio tower and were electrocuted. One man died, and the other survived. The survivor was charged with felony murder for the death of his partner. The girlfriend of the man who died was also charged with felony murder because she transported the men to the scene of the crime.

  • In Tennessee, three teenage girls overdosed on fentanyl after taking drugs together. Two of the girls died, and the third was charged with felony murder for their deaths.

  • In Alabama, several teenage boys broke into some homes and stole electronics. When police were called to the scene, one boy ran away, and another boy was shot and killed by officers. The boy who fled was charged with felony murder of the boy who was killed by the police.

The researchers also found that there are significant racial disparities in felony murder cases. Conviction rates for these offenses are much higher for Black defendants. For example, in Wisconsin, where Black people make up 7 percent of the population, 76 percent of people incarcerated for felony murder are Black.

Felony Murder Under Connecticut Law

The state of Connecticut has imposed harsh penalties for felony murder. If a person causes the death of someone else while committing or attempting to commit robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, home invasion, or while escaping from prison, they may be charged with murder. In most cases, murder is a Class A felony, and a person who is convicted may be sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison.

Contact Our Connecticut Felony Murder Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of murder or another violent crime, or if you are facing felony murder charges related to another type of offense, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side to help you defend against these charges. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, our Hartford murder defense attorney can help you determine the best defense strategy, and we will fight to ensure that you will be able to resolve your case successfully. Contact us today at 860-290-8690 to arrange a free consultation.

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