Maine Felony Murder Law

In Maine, the crime of murder is committed if a person:

  • Intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another human being
  • Engages in conduct that manifests a depraved indifference to the value of human life and that in fact causes the death of another human being, or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causes another human being to commit suicide by the use of force, duress, or deception

However, a person can also be convicted of murder via the state's felony murder rule. In some states felony murder is included in the state's first-degree murder law; However, in Maine, felony murder is its own distinct crime. Maine's felony murder law holds felons responsible for deaths that occur during or shortly after the commission of one of the inherently dangerous felonies listed in the table below.

Code Section

Maine Revised Statute 17-A section 202: Felony Murder

What's Prohibited?

A person is guilty of felony murder if acting alone or with one or more other people in the commission of, the attempt to commit, or in the immediate flight from committing or attempting to commit murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault, or escape, the person or another participant causes the death of a human being, and the death is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of such commission, attempt, or flight.

Affirmative Defenses

It is an affirmative defense to a felony murder charge that the killer:
  • Didn't commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, command, induce, procure, or aid the commission thereof
  • Wasn't armed with a dangerous weapon, or with another weapon which under the circumstances indicated a readiness to inflict serious bodily injury
  • Reasonably believed that no other participant was armed with such a weapon, and
  • Reasonably believed that no other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury

Penalties

Felony murder is a Class A crime that is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

Felony Murder Example

Most forms of murder require the offender to have acted with malice, or the intent to cause serious bodily injury or death. However, felony murder only requires that the offender had the intent to commit the felony. For example, if Paul and John attempt to rob a jewelry store together and while sacking the store Paul shoots and kills the store's security guard, John can be convicted of felony murder if he knew that Paul was carrying a gun.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Maine's felony murder law contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.