Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being which consists of the following two component parts:
1. actus reus: the act of killing a person
2. mens rea: the state of mind (i.e. intentional, knowingly, malicious, premeditated, and/or wanton)
The mens rea (state of mind) generally distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide. The following definitions of mental states are found in the Ohio and Kentucky Penal Codes.
OHIO: A person acts purposely when it is his specific intention to cause a certain result, or, when the gist of the offense is a prohibition against conduct of a certain nature, regardless of what the offender intends to accomplish thereby, it is his specific intention to engage in conduct of that nature.
KENTUCKY: A person acts intentionally with respect to a result or to conduct described by a statute defining an offense when his conscious objective is to cause that result or to engage in that conduct.
OHIO: A person acts knowingly, regardless of his purpose, when he is aware that his conduct will probably cause a certain result or will probably be of a certain nature. A person has knowledge of circumstances when he is aware that such circumstances probably exist.
KENTUCKY: A person acts knowingly with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that the circumstance exists.
Ohio Law on Murder
(A) No person shall purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.
(B) No person shall cause the death of another as a proximate result of the offender's committing or attempting to commit an offense of violence that is a felony of the first or second degree and that is not a violation of section 2903.03 or 2903.04 of the Revised Code.
(C) Division (B) of this section does not apply to an offense that becomes a felony of the first or second degree only if the offender previously has been convicted of that offense or another specified offense.
(D) Whoever violates this section is guilty of murder.
Kentucky Law on Murder
(1) A person is guilty of murder when:
(a) With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; except that in any prosecution a person shall not be guilty under this subsection if he 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, nothing contained in this section shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for or preclude a conviction of manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime; or
(b) Including, but 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.
(2) Murder is a capital offense.
Defending the Charge of Murder
Murder is one of the most serious crimes a person can face. The penalties are severe and can even include the death penalty. Mitigating circumstances, exclusions, and even temporary insanity may aid in reducing the charges. If you are facing murder charges in Ohio, Kentucky, or Federal court, you need a experienced criminal defense attorney with expertise in handling murder charges on a local or national level.
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