Among the most serious charges you or a loved one can face is murder. It is very important that the accused seek legal counsel as soon as they are able. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you or a loved one have been charged with murder or your believe that you may be charged with murder. It is important initially that you only speak with your attorney. Please review our attorney's blog post on Why You Shouldn't Talk To The Police.
Types Of Murder Cases
- A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when with intent to cause the death of another person, he or she causes the death of such person or of a third person. Murder is a capital offenese. Murder generally is punishable by twenty years to life in prison. Except in cases where there is an aggravating circumstance where the punishment may also include life without parole for twenty five years, life without the possibility of parole, and the death penalty. Kentucky aggravators are as follows:
- (1) The offense of murder or kidnapping was committed by a person with a prior record of conviction for a capital offense, or the offense of murder was committed by a person who has a substantial history of serious assaultive criminal convictions;
- (2) The offense of murder or kidnapping was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of arson in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, rape in the first degree, or sodomy in the first degree;
- (3) The defendant by his or her act of murder, armed robbery, or kidnapping knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one (1) person in a public place by means of a weapon of mass destruction, weapon, or other device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one (1) person;
- (4) The offender committed the offense of murder for himself or another, for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value, or for other profit;
- (5) The offense of murder was committed by a person who was a prisoner and the victim was a prison employee engaged at the time of the act in the performance of his duties;
- (6) The defendant's act or acts of killing were intentional and resulted in multiple deaths;
- (7) The defendant's act of killing was intentional and the victim was a state or local public official or police officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff engaged at the time of the act in the lawful performance of his duties; or
- (8) The defendant murdered the victim when an emergency protective order or a domestic violence order was in effect, or when any other order designed to protect the victim from the offender, such as an order issued as a condition of a bond, conditional release, probation, parole, or pretrial diversion, was in effect.
- Extreme emotional disturbance defense: Except that in any prosecution a person shall not be guilty of murder if he or she acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. However, a person could still be prosecuted for manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime.
- Wanton murder: Includes, but is not limited to, the operation of a motor vehicle under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person and thereby causes the death of another person. All deaths resulting from wanton conduct must constitute either murder or manslaughter in the second degree. Once the elements of wantonness are shown to exist, the choice between the two offenses (Wanton murder or Manslaughter in the second degree) depends upon whether or not the defendant's conduct manifested “extreme indifference to human life.” Wanton murder carries the same penalty as murder in the first degree, twenty (20) years to life in prison.
- Manslaughter in the first degree. When with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he or she causes the death of such person or of a third person.Or with intent to cause the death of another person, he or she causes the death of such person or of a third person under circumstances which do not constitute murder because he acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance. Or through circumstances not otherwise constituting the offense of murder, he or she intentionally abuses another person or knowingly permits another person of whom he or she has actual custody to be abused and thereby causes death to a person twelve (12) years of age or less, or who is physically helpless or mentally helpless. Manslaughter in the first degree is a Class B felony resulting in ten (10) to twenty (20) years in prison upon conviction.
- Manslaughter in the second degree. A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when he wantonly causes the death of another person, including, but not limited to, situations where the death results from the person's: Operation of a motor vehicle; or leaving a child under the age of eight (8) years in a motor vehicle under circumstances which manifest an extreme indifference to human life and which create a grave risk of death to the child, thereby causing the death of the child. Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class C felony resulting in five (5) to ten (10) years in prison upon conviction.
- Reckless homicide cannot exist without the following elements: a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death will occur as a result of the conduct in question; a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe, and a failure by the defendant to perceive the substantial and unjustifiable risk of death. Reckless homicide is a Class D felony and is punishable by one (1) to five (5) years in prison
- Justifiable homicide. In instances where a person is killed in an act of self-defense, then a justifiable homicide may be in order. A justifiable homicide will usually not result in a criminal conviction, but the deceased person’s family can go after damages in civil court.
Why Hiring A Lawyer Is Important
Hiring a lawyer when facing these charges is important for a number of reasons like:
- Investigating the Details of Your Case. When dealing with a serious legal matter like a murder charge, you will need to find legal representation who has investigators on their side. Apollo Law has a working relationship with a team of experienced investigators who will be able to investigate every relevant detail of your case. With this information, we will be able to start building your defense.
- Reviewing the Evidence. Before your case goes to trial, the prosecutors handling the case are supposed to send over all of the evidence they have against you. Apollo Law will go over this evidence with a fine tooth comb to find any inconsistencies that may exist.
- Mitigation Specialists and Experts. Apollo Law has experience finding the right experts and mitigation specialists for your case. Mitigations specialists are particually helpful and needed in capital murder cases where a defendant is facing the death penalty,
- Negotiations and Plea Bargains. If at all possible, our lawyer will be able to help you during the negotiating of a plea bargain in your case. We know how to work with prosecutors and have perfected the art of give and take. With our help, you may be able to get a lighter sentence. We also know the importance of victim outreach, when appropriate, in efforts to resolve these challenging cases.
- Preservation of Issues for Appeal. If the trial court and the prosecutor are set in violating a defendant's Constitutional rights (whether intentionally or unitentionally), some times the only thing to do is preserve issues for appeal. Our attorney has tried murder cases, including a capital murder case. Our attorney has a history or preserving issues that are successful in reversing and remanding murder cases on appeal. See our page on Criminal Appeals. While our attorney worked for the Department of Public Advocacy, approximately sixty-eight percent (68%) of capiital murder cases were reversed on appeal. More likely than not, if you or a loved one have a capital case that goes to trial in Kentucky, it will be reversed on appeal.