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There are different levels of murder depending on the defendant’s state of mind or whether the person was killed during the commission of certain types of offenses.

Murder in the first degree is committed when there is premeditation and forethought or there is extreme atrocity or cruelty. Another form of murder in the first degree is called felony murder.

Felony murder is when a killing occurs during the commission of a felony, there does not have to be any plan or intent to kill. It is enough to be engaged in the commission of a felony in which an actor in that crime kills another person whether planned or not.

Murder in the second degree is an unlawful killing that occurred with malice. Murder in the second degree may be charged when mitigating circumstances exist. Examples of mitigating circumstances are: heat of passion caused by provocation or sudden combat or excessive self-defense of oneself or another.

It is the jury who decides whether a murder is considered a first-degree murder or second-degree murder this depends on whether the Commonwealth was able to prove premeditation and forethought or that there was extreme atrocity or cruelty involved.

Other murder charges:

  • Murder in the second degree
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Armed assault to murder
  • Conspiracy to murder

Supreme Judicial Court – Model Jury Instructions On Homicide

If you are being investigated or been charged with murder contact Boston defense attorney Frank Fernandez to receive a free confidential consultation.


We are happy to answer any questions you may have, please call The Fernandez Firm anytime.

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