If you or someone you love has been charged with some form of criminal homicide (murder or manslaughter), it is essential that you understand the intricacies of the crime charged. For instance, murder in the first degree is the deliberate killing of another human and constitutes a capital offense. On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter is only a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum term of 5 years in jail. Knowing the exact charge (or charges) is extremely important, especially for your attorney, who will use that information to build a strategic defense and advocate for your rights on your behalf.
What constitutes a crime of passion in PA?
In Pennsylvania, a Delaware County woman was murdered by her jealous ex-boyfriend after he found pictures of her with other men on her phone. The defendant was charged with first-, second-, and third-degree murder, criminal homicide, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. The prosecution will always try to charge a defendant with every offense that fits the crime, in the hopes that one or more will stick after the jury and court are done considering the facts. Here, even if the prosecution drops the murder charges, the defendant was still charged with criminal homicide. Which, as mentioned above, is a catchall term that encompasses every form of homicide, including manslaughter.
Meaning, if his murder charges fail, he is still liable for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. In Pennsylvania, Voluntary Manslaughter is considered a “crime of passion.” It is the intentional killing of another person without a legitimate reason (i.e., self-defense) if at the time of the killing, the defendant was “acting under a sudden and intense passion” that was genuinely provoked by (1) the individual they killed, or (2) another person the defendant wanted or tried to kill, but because of an accident or negligence, the defendant killed this victim instead.
Voluntary manslaughter is always intentional, but what sets it apart from murder is the conduct of the person the defendant intended to kill and the span of time it took the defendant to decide to hurt the victim. For instance, if the defendant in the article above had waited weeks to kill his ex-girlfriend and then had shown up at her door and strangled her, that would be considered murder. But because he confessed to being so enraged by the photos he saw on her phone, while standing in her apartment beside her, that he decided to strangle her out of a blind rage, which resulted in her death, the crime was committed in the heat of an intense passion.
How an Attorney Can Help
Being charged with criminal homicide can be a very scary reality for anyone. Having a seasoned defense attorney, such as Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm, on your side can ensure the court and government uphold rights from the moment you are accused. Additionally, Attorney Lento will work diligently to gather all the information and evidence relating to your case and begin building an efficient strategy for your defense. You do not have to weather this storm alone. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation. The Lento Law Firm wants to help. Let them.