Under Oklahoma's criminal code, there are four classifications of homicide: murder, manslaughter, excusable homicide, and justifiable homicide. Murder is then further subcategorized into first-degree and second-degree murder. This article provides a brief overview of Oklahoma's most serious form of homicide, first-degree murder.
First-degree murder is one of the most serious crimes listed in Oklahoma's criminal code and may be punished by death. While each state defines murder slightly differently, first-degree murder is generally associated with malice aforethought. Basically this means that the homicide must have been done deliberately and with the unlawful intent to kill the victim. However, in Oklahoma a killing done without malice aforethought may also qualify as first-degree murder if the killing took place under certain specific circumstances. The following chart lists these circumstances and outlines Oklahoma's first-degree murder statute.
|Oklahoma Penal Code section 21-701.7 and 21-701.9: Murder in the First Degree|
Homicide is murder in the first degree in the following cases:
Murder with malice:
Killing a child via torture or the use of unreasonable force:
Soliciting a killing:
Killing a law enforcement officer:
|Punishable by death, imprisonment for life without parole, or by imprisonment for life.|
Proof Needed for a Murder Conviction
Before a defendant can be convicted of first-degree murder in Oklahoma the prosecution must prove both that the victim died and that the killing was caused by the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, reasonable doubt about the guilt of the defendant must not remain after thoroughly considering the evidence.
For case specific information regarding Oklahoma's first-degree murder law contact a local criminal defense attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.