Crime Library


What is Homicide?

Homicide |ˈhɒmɪsʌɪd|noun [ mass noun ] chiefly N. Amer.the killing of one person by another: he was charged with homicide| [ count noun ] knives account for a third of all homicides.• ( Homicide )the police department that deals with the crime of murder: a man from Homicide.• count noun ] dated a murderer.ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French, from Latinhomicidium, from homo, homin- man. ‘Oxford Dictionery’

Under common law, homicide is classified in three ways including justifiable homicide, excusable homicide, and criminal homicide. A defendant is charged with homicide depending on the intent and actions of a defendant. If a defendant takes the life of another person, but did not intend to, they would face a lower punishment or homicide charge. Conversely, a person that actually intended to harm someone without a good reason would face a higher homicide charge and punishment range.

What is Justifiable Homicide?

Justifiable homicide is homicide that takes place in the reasonable belief that a serious crime is being committed and in an attempt to prevent the crime. Described as a homicide with a good excuse. It may also be in self-defense, in defense of others, or an action taken in the line of duty, such as one by a police officer. 

When Homicide is considered ‘excusable’

Excusable homicide is homicide committed accidentally or with sufficient provocation while doing some lawful activity. For example, if someone is physically attacked in a parking garage and kills the attacker while defending himself, that would be excusable homicide. However, if the attacker in the garage ran away, but the defendant later saw the attacker and confronted him, then the defendant would not be excused from a resulting homicide because the defendant reopened the event.

What it Means to Commit Criminal Homicide

Criminal homicide is the unlawful killing of another. It is usually divided into categories based on the intent of the person. Some categories include murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. The more intentional the behavior, the higher the level of charge and punishment will be. Murder is considered a specific intent crime, which means that the person committed an act that was actually intended to kill or seriously harm another. For example, if a woman was mad at her ex-husband and drove a car directly at him and the collision resulted in his death, then the elements of criminal or unjustified homicide would be satisfied because she specifically intended to harm him. However, if the woman ran a stop sign because she was texting while driving, then she would not be guilty of criminal homicide because she lacked the specific intent to harm.

Although not guilty of murder, she could be found guilty of a lesser charge such as manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, which only require the showing of reckless or negligent conduct. 

Though not an outright defense, some states allow defendants to present evidence of “sudden passion.” Sudden passion occurs when the victim does something to provoke to the defendant, but the provocation does not amount to self-defense. For example, if a man catches his wife in bed with another man and ends up shooting the man in a rage of emotion and anger, then he could admit that he committed the act of murder, but was compelled by the sudden passion of the moment. 

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Under Creative Commons License: Attribution 
Modified by Gina Amos


Types of Killing (according to Wikipedia)

Killing of Self

Suicide – intentional killing of self.

  • Autocide – suicide by automobile.
  • Medicide – a suicide accomplished with the aid of a physician.
  • Murder-suicide – a suicide committed immediately after one or more murders.
  • Self-immolation – suicide by setting oneself on fire.
  • Suicide by cop – a suicide by acting threateningly, thereby inducing law enforcement personnel to shoot one to death.

3 Responses to Crime Library

  1. Sue Coletta says:

    This is great, Gina! I’ll have to check out the resource. Love finding new crime resources. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great resource. Thanks Gina.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gina amos says:

    You’re welcome:)


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