A person is guilty of criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causes the death of another human being. Criminal Homicide is classified as Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter and Involuntary Manslaughter.
There are three degrees of Murder under Pennsylvania law. Murder of the 1st degree, Murder of the 2nd degree and Murder of the 3rd Degree. Murder of the 1st Degree is an intentional killing with malice. It requires a specific intent to kill. Murder of the 2nd Degree, also referred to a Felony Murder, is a killing committed during the commission of certain enumerated felonies such as rape or robbery. Murder of the 3rd Degree is a killing with malice but without a specific intent to kill. The penalty for Murder in the 1st is either Death or Life Imprisonment. The penalty for Murder of the 2nd Degree is Life Imprisonment. Murder of the 3rd Degree is graded as a Felony off the 1st Degree carrying a maximum sentence of 40 years.
Voluntary Manslaughter is either the killing of a person without justification, when at the time of the killing the person is acting under extreme passion or provocation by the individual killed or another who the actor intends to kill but accidently or negligently kills another person.
There is a second type of Voluntary Manslaughter. This is where the actor has an unreasonable belief that under the circumstances then and there existing he is justified in using deadly force to protect himself. Voluntary Manslaughter is a Felony of the 1st Degree carrying a maximum sentence 20 years.
Involuntary Manslaughter occurs when death is caused by performing either a lawful or unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner. Involuntary Manslaughter is a Misdemeanor of the 1st Degree carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years, unless the victim is under 12 years of age and is in the care, custody, or control of the person who caused the death, in which case it is a Felony of the 2nd Degree, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The Pennsylvania Crimes Code includes other sub categories of Homicide crimes such as Criminal Homicide of a Law Enforcement Officer and Drug Delivery resulting in Death.
Perry de Marco, Sr. has been defending persons accused of Homicide for nearly forty years. Take a look at the Celebrated Cases section of this website and read just a few of the Murder cases which he has successfully defended. As with Narcotics cases, Murder cases require tough, experienced, and passionate representation. This is not a place for a lawyer to learn how to try a case. You do not want an inexperienced lawyer defending you in a Murder case any more than you would want an inexperienced doctor performing serious surgery on you. The practice of trial law is an Art which requires many years of hard work, passion and dedication. This is what you will receive at Law Offices of Perry de Marco. Contact us if you require representation in a Homicide Case. Please keep in mind that we do not charge for the initial consultation.