Federal Law on Homicide

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Running head: FEDERAL LAW ON HOMICIDE

Federal Law on Homicide

J
Writing Assignment
CJ 123 Criminal Law

Federal Law on Homicide
The first recorded murder, trail and hanging took place in 1630. John Billington was one of the original pilgrims to sail on the Mayflower to the New world from England and also was the first person in America to be charged and hanged for murder after shooting long time enemy John Newcomen after a fight (Johnson, 1994). Although murder has many different forms from assassinating someone to poisoning them all are classified into three categories first degree murder, second degree murder and manslaughter. First on our list is the harshest of the three murder categories, first degree murder is unlawful killing of a human being by a human being involving malice aforethought (i.e., intent to kill) and premeditation (Ousey, 2008). For example say John Smith thinks his neighbor Bill Jones is an alien from another planet and is going to take John as a prisoner, so John devises a plan to kill Bill. He has watched Bill very close to get idea of his day to day activity to figure out the best time to strike. John stalks Bill like a lioness on the hunt and when he sees an opening he shoots Bill in the back and puts him in a pre-dug and unmarked grave. John is arrested and charged with first degree murder since he planned the murder showing premeditation with malice or hatred intent. The state of mind or mens rea shows that John had the intent of killing Bill when he shot Bill in the back and then tried to cover up the crime. Possible defense of insanity, defense could argue that John thought Bill was an alien and was planning to abduct him and in his mind was using self defense. John has a history of mental illness and has been of his meds. Second degree murder is a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility (Second degree murder, n.d.) The main difference with the mens rea...
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