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Old 09-09-2003, 11:28 PM   #1
Reeka
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Join Date: March 2, 2001
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Today in Alabama in a town about an hour's drive from me a man was arrested for felony homocide. Early this morning he was attempting to break into an elderly couples home in the nude. The 70-something man heard a noise and went to investigate. Upon opening the door, he saw this young man in his 20's standing on his deck in the nude. His wife in the house was calling the police. The elderly gentleman collasped. Upon arrival, the police arrested the young nude and called paramedics and a ambulance for the elderly man. He died moments later at the hospital from a heart attack.

The district attorney has charged the young man with "felony homocide"---the death of someone during the commission of a felony.
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Old 09-10-2003, 12:04 AM   #2
Azred
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That is a bit of a stretch. It will be awfully hard for the prosecution to prove that the young man's attempt at breaking in actually caused the heart attack; it could have been ready to happen for weeks. Nevertheless, it is a tragedy for the elderly couple.
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Old 09-10-2003, 12:10 AM   #3
True_Moose
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Umm...strange is how I can best describe. I would really like to see them put the murder weapon in at trial. "The prosecution would like to present exhibit 83" *sound of fly being undone*

Seriously, felony murder involves either intent or ridiculous indifference to human life. I really doubt that this qualifies as either.
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Old 09-10-2003, 12:43 AM   #4
Reeka
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Well, they had the DA on TV, and he said that since the man died during the commission of a felony (breaking into a house) it is FELONY murder. There are degrees of murder. I heard tonight that the college student is in jail with $100,000 bond set.
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Old 09-10-2003, 01:08 AM   #5
True_Moose
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That's still a stretch. DAs can talk up a storm...we've seen it before, and we'll see it again. What I want to see is some judge who'll give this guy life or death in prison because an old guy died after seeing the family jewels.
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Old 09-10-2003, 02:51 AM   #6
Faceman
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We discussed something similar in the topic about the pilot who made a bomb joke and got arrested IIRC. When it came to if he should be responsible for late flights, commercial loss, etc. TL argued that it was all about foreseeability and indirect effects of the crime. Although here the old man is a direct victim (if you can prove that the heart attack was a consequence of the young man's appearance) the young man had no intent (at least I hope so [img]smile.gif[/img] ) and could not foresee (especially because he was probably not in a sound state of mind) that he would encounter an elderly couple AND give them a heart attack. But I wait to hear from Timber about that.
My personal opinion: It's tragic and it shows where immature behaviour can lead (was he drunk? or in a mental state - if latter my following sentence of course does not apply). However it is tragic no more no less.
According to the DA it is a felony murder as it was committed during a felony. Still it has to be a murderous act to qualify as murder. Therefore if it is a murderous act to get someone with a heart condition too excited giving him a heart-attack the possibilities for charges would soar. If someone died from a heart condition after a quarrel with his wife you could charge her with (involuntary) manslaughter. If she said "you gonna regret this" during the conversation she may be even going down for Murder One.
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Old 09-10-2003, 04:06 AM   #7
Skunk
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---Faceman
If someone died from a heart condition after a quarrel with his wife you could charge her with (involuntary) manslaughter.
Yes but the last I heard, arguing was not a crime (unless it uses physical violence). I think that the man *should* be charged with manslaughter. There have been a number of incidents in the UK over the past few years where this has been the case (the last was when a man collapsed with a heart-attack while chasing a thief who had broken into his garage).

The fact of the matter is, if the prospective burglar had not attempted to break in, that old man would probably be still alive.

[ 09-10-2003, 03:10 AM: Message edited by: Skunk ]
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Old 09-10-2003, 07:28 AM   #8
Faceman
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Quote:
Originally posted by Skunk:
Yes but the last I heard, arguing was not a crime.
That's why she should be charged with involuntary manslaughter instead of felony murder.
Marking it as murder does not automatically derive from the felony ti is just boosted through it.

Let's assume the guy was not drunk and not naked but a common burglar. Let's also assume the house belonged to a healthy young couple.
Situation:
He breaks in. The husband hears him and wants to take a look downstairs. In the darkness he trips and falls down the stairs breaking his neck.
Now he would still be alive if it wasn't for that burglar but the burglar did not kill him and therefore probably shouldn't be charged for murder.
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Old 09-10-2003, 08:53 AM   #9
Skunk
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Quote:
Originally posted by Faceman:
quote:
Originally posted by Skunk:
Yes but the last I heard, arguing was not a crime.
That's why she should be charged with involuntary manslaughter instead of felony murder.
Marking it as murder does not automatically derive from the felony ti is just boosted through it.

Let's assume the guy was not drunk and not naked but a common burglar. Let's also assume the house belonged to a healthy young couple.
Situation:
He breaks in. The husband hears him and wants to take a look downstairs. In the darkness he trips and falls down the stairs breaking his neck.
Now he would still be alive if it wasn't for that burglar but the burglar did not kill him and therefore probably shouldn't be charged for murder.
[/QUOTE]Well, that's why I said manslaughter - the death should certainly part of the charges - but 'Murder One' is a bit strong...So we agree with eachother.
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Old 09-10-2003, 11:38 AM   #10
Timber Loftis
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Quote:
Felony Murder Doctrine

n. a rule of criminal statutes that any death which occurs during the commission of a felony is first degree murder, and all participants in that felony or attempted felony can be charged with and found guilty of murder. A typical example is a robbery involving more than one criminal, in which one of them shoots, beats to death or runs over a store clerk, killing the clerk. Even if the death were accidental, all of the participants can be found guilty of felony murder, including those who did no harm, had no gun, and/or did not intend to hurt anyone. In a bizarre situation, if one of the holdup men or women is killed, his/her fellow robbers can be charged with murder.
Someone mentioned the airport bomb and foreseeability. This isn't the same. The legislature in (I think) all states have decided that if you commit a felony, you are on the hook for any deaths resulting during that felony. The legislature has dictated that the commission of a felony is so dangerous that any deaths ensuing from it are per se foreseeable.

Also, there is no mens rea component to the felony murder rule, so your intent or "guilty mind" is not a question. In fact, the felony murder rule is often argued to be unfair. It is the single instance in the law where you can skip manslaughter, skip murder 2, and go straight to murder 1, a capital offense, and get the death penalty without ever having premeditated or intended to harm anyone.

In fact, if you're holding up a liquor store with your buddy, and HE shoots the clerk, you can get (and some have gotten) the murder 1 death penalty. In fact, if the store clerk shoots your cohort you are liable for THAT killing (ANY killing during your commission of a crime) and can get the death penalty. Get this one: you're driving back from a Phish show with your friends, you've got a hit of acid in your wallet (a felony) and you wreck and kill one of those friends. I've never seen this instance, but felony murder might apply.

DA's argue felony murder because it's so much easier to prove than murder. It's very easy: (1) did you commit a felony? (2) did someone die? If yes and yes, then go straight to the chamber, do not pass go.

Here's a site arguing for change of the felony murder rule:
http://www.ncfelonymurder.org/home.html
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