murder(redirected from First-degree murder)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.
, in law, the taking of human life. Homicides that are neither justifiable nor excusable are considered crimes. A criminal homicide committed with malice is known as murder, otherwise it is called manslaughter.
..... Click the link for more information. , usually distinguished from manslaughtermanslaughter,
homicide committed without justification or excuse but distinguished from murder by the absence of the element of malice aforethought. Modern criminal statutes usually divide it into degrees, the most common distinction being between voluntary and involuntary
..... Click the link for more information. by the element of malicemalice,
in law, an intentional violation of the law of crimes or torts that injures another person. Malice need not involve a malignant spirit or the definite intent to do harm.
..... Click the link for more information. aforethought. The most direct case of malicious intent occurs when the killer is known to have adopted the deliberate intent to commit the homicidal act at some time before it is actually committed. Very often, however, the law presumes the existence of malice aforethought from the circumstances, and it does not necessarily have to be proved directly. The most clear-cut case of this presumption of malice is when the killer inadvertently murders a person other than his intended victim. Here, malice is presumed if the killer intended to inflict serious bodily injury, or if he behaved with such reckless disregard of the safety of others as to betray a "depraved heart." Likewise, a killing incidentally committed in the course of a felonyfelony
, any grave crime, in contrast to a misdemeanor, that is so declared in statute or was so considered in common law. In early English law a felony was a heinous act that canceled the perpetrator's feudal rights and forfeited his lands and goods to the king, thus depriving
..... Click the link for more information. (e.g., robbery or rape) is deemed murder; if the felony was accomplished by more than one person, all are equally guilty of the murder, not only the actual killer. A murder that is incidental to a misdemeanormisdemeanor,
in law, a minor crime, in contrast to a felony. At common law a misdemeanor was a crime other than treason or a felony. Although it might be a grave offense, it did not affect the feudal bond or take away the offender's property. By the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , however, is treated as manslaughter. Most states prescribe various degrees of murder. Murder in the first degree generally is a calculated act of slaying committed with malice aforethought, often requiring aggravated circumstances such as extreme brutality. It receives the severest penalty, often life imprisonment or capital punishmentcapital punishment,
imposition of a penalty of death by the state. History
Capital punishment was widely applied in ancient times; it can be found (c.1750 B.C.) in the Code of Hammurabi.
..... Click the link for more information. . Second-degree murder is a homicide committed with malice, but without deliberation or premeditation. A homicide committed without malice (as in negligent motor vehicle operation) or in the "heat of passion" (as in a quarrel which escalates to violence) is generally considered manslaughter. In some states, certain crimes that are defined as murder of a lower degree approximate more closely the definition of manslaughter in common lawcommon law,
system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that
..... Click the link for more information. . In some cases, it is difficult to determine whether malice aforethought was present; consequently the governor of a state (or other chief executive) not infrequently uses his power of commutation of sentence to revoke the death penalty, and in some states the appellate courts automatically review all convictions of murder.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
What does it mean when you dream about murder?
Murder symbolizes aggression and repressed rage at oneself or others. If the dreamer is murdered, the release of obstacles in one’s life or a major transformation may be indicated. (See also
The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
slew his 70 brothers to become ruler. [O.T.: Judges 9:5]
noble motives cause him to murder uncle. [Br. Lit.: The London Merchant; Barnhart, 695]
kills the man who had seduced his wife; he is murdered by an enemy and his wife kills herself. [Am. Lit.: Warren World Enough and Time in Magill II, 1160]
closets away bodies of former wives. [Fr. Fairy Tale: Harvey, 97–98]
(Henri Désiré Landru, 1869–1922) executed for murders of ten women (1915–18). [Fr. Hist.: EB (1972), XIII, 661
(Albert De Salvo, 1932—) strangled thirteen women between 1962 and 1964. [Am. Hist.: Misc.]
murders predecessor to gain Egyptian throne. [Gk. Myth: Avery, 231]
jealous, slays Abel. [O.T.: Genesis 4:8]
with brothers, arranges murder of cruel father. [Br. Lit.: The Cenci]
murders brother to gain throne. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]
slew husbands on wedding night. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 74]
throws Miriam’s persecutor over cliff to death. [Am. Lit.: The Marble Faun]
killed by Alla for abandoning his wife and son at sea. [Br. Lit.: Canterbury Tales, “Man of Law’s Tale”]
Gilligan, Amy Archer
brutally murders his estranged young wife and her parents. [Br. Poetry: Browning The Ring and the Book]
poisons 48 elderly people in nursing homes. [Am. Hist.: Elizabeth S. Baxter Newington; Am. Drama: Kesselring Arsenic and Old Lace]
young social climber lets his pregnant mistress drown in a boating accident and is convicted of murder. [Am. Lit.: An American Tragedy in Hart, 30]
stabs Siegfried in back; kills Gunther. [Ger. Opera: Wagner, Götterdämmerung, Westerman, 245]
kills Joe’s father; lets mother die in childbirth. [Am. Lit.: Light in August]
In Cold Blood
a confessed murderer, yet a sensitive, romantic man. [Br. Lit.: Peter Ibbetson, Magill I, 736–738]
nonfiction novel about a brutal, senseless murder in Kansas. [Am. Lit.: In Cold Blood]
stabs town doctor to death. [Am. Lit.: Tom Sawyer]
Jack the Ripper
first murderer of a relative in classical mythology. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 142; Rom. Lit.: Aeneid]
killed and disemboweled 9 London prostitutes (1888–1889). [Br. Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 463]
mistakenly kills his parents in their sleep. [Fr. Lit.: Flaubert “The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaler”]
intrigue in the court of Elizabeth I. [Br. Lit.: Scott Kenilworth in Magill I, 469]
motion picture about a child-murderer hunted down by organized criminal element. [Ger. Cinema: Halliwell]
became king of Scotland through a series of ruthless murders, but was ultimately slain by his enemy, Macduff. [Br. Lit.: Shakespeare Macbeth]
murdered her two children. [Gk. Lit.: Century Classical, 684–685]
murders wife’s lover; hides body under cloak. [Ital. Opera: Puccini, The Cloak, Westerman, 362–363]
fiend presiding over homicide. [Br. Lit.: King Lear]
illegitimate son and treacherous killer of Arthur. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
commits matricide to avenge father’s honor. [Gk. Lit.: Electra]
believing false evidence of Desdemona’s infidelity, he strangles her. [Br. Lit.: Shakespeare Othello]
brutally kills a mother and her daughter. [Am. Lit.: Poe The Murders in the Rue Morgue]
murders Crown, who tried to take Bess. [Am. Opera: Gershwin, Porgy and Bess, Westerman, 556]
plans and carries out the murder of an old woman pawnbroker. [Russ. Lit.: Crime and Punishment]
girl assaulted and murdered, her corpse thrown into the Seine. Am. Lit.: Poe The Mystery of Marie Rogêt]
murders master and gardener. [Br. Lit.: Barnaby Rudge]
Smith, George Joseph
hanged for killing of Nancy. [Br. Lit.: Oliver Twist]
dispatched wives and lovers in bathtubs in 1910s. [Br. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 274]
cynic opposed to fascist Everard Webley attacks and kills him, then commits suicide. [Br. Lit.: Huxley Point Counter Point in Magill I, 760]
his killing of Gilda fulfills curse against Rigoletto. [Ital. Opera: Verdi, Rigoletto, Westerman, 300]
religious devotion to Kali involves human strangulation. [Indian Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1080]
at the king’s behest, arranges the deaths of two young princes in the Tower. [Br. Drama: Shakespeare Richard III]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005