View Full Version : Whats the Difference between Captial Murder, First Murder, and Second Degree Murder?

01-06-2011, 10:04 PM
I watch First 48 on TV all the time sometimes I see Capital Murder, First Degree Murder, or Second Degree Murder... I was wondering what is the differences???

01-07-2011, 08:00 AM
Capital is malitious with forethought, generally very violent. The difference between first and second and third is forethought and intent. Again not certain but first would be intended and pre meditated. I think second does not have to be pre meditated.

01-07-2011, 08:19 AM
Capital offenses are eligible for death sentences and are usually crimes that happen during the commission of another. Say you kill someone while robbing them, they can give you capital murder because you killed during the commission of another crime.

Check out this site, it explains a little bit of the differences between capital, first and second degree crimes:

01-07-2011, 08:23 AM
This question would be best posed in the Legal forums where the attorneys can answer it for you.

The definitions can vary depending on the jurisdiction. Texas and California may have different requirements for capital murder as well as each state. But capital murder usually is murder committed while in the commission of another crime, i.e. robbing the grocery store he killed the clerk. Or multiple murders, or the killing of a peace officer. Capital murder is death penalty eligible.

First degree murder is usually if they find there to be malice aforethought and the killing was premeditated. Strangulation is usually considered first degree because of the time it takes to kill another by this method alone you have time to reconsider and stop. Also if you use a weapon it brings on or can change the charge or be an additional charge.

Second degree murder is a non-premeditated killing but the attacker knew it would end up in murder.

01-07-2011, 08:59 AM
different degrees of murder, and crimes in general all vary from state to state. most times the degree simply changes depending on intent and premeditation, and as others have stated, if the murder was committed during the commission of another crime. in the state of Ohio, if you, say, murder somebody while robbing that person, you will be charged with Aggravated Murder. Most every crime you commit in the state of Ohio, if you are committing another crime at the same time, it will then become aggravated. Then you have your 1st and 2nd degree murder, then manslaughter, etc. it's actually very complex .. and because of my college major, and future plans i'm always studying the revised code, at least in the state of Ohio, it's actually very interesting - if you have the time i'd say to take a look at your states revised code :)

01-07-2011, 10:01 AM
I will stipulate that my answers were for VA, and the other posters are correct that different jurisdictions have different qualifications for the degree of murder one would be prosecuted.

01-07-2011, 11:34 AM
Capital murder is a first degree murder that is especially heinous. Jurisdictions with capital murder, that's a murder that's getting the death penalty, define an especially heinous murder according to statute, but they usually include the murder of a cop, the murder of more than one person, the murder of children, and murder for profit. In IL, there are more than 20 factors that will buy you a trip to Death Row. Oh, and note that just because an aggravating factor exists doesn't automatically qualify an offense for death.

First degree murder is generally premeditated murder that is not especially heinous.

Second degree murder is a murder that does not involve premeditation, or involves a totally callous lack of concern for human life (doing something really stupid that you know will probably result in the death of somebody else).

below that are various degrees of manslaughter, reckless homicide, etc.