The legal definition of first degree murder in Missouri

Not all incidents that lead to death in Kansas City are going to fall under the umbrella of first degree murder. There are varying degrees of murder that could be used, and there are also related charges, such as manslaughter, which show that a person may have been responsible for a death without the intent to kill. All people who are facing charges after a death deserve fair legal counsel, and one of the first things they should look into is what technically counts as first degree murder and what does not.

The first element that needs to be present, as mentioned above, is intent. If the person who has been accused of the killing did so accidentally and with no desire to cause the other person's death, it is not going to be first degree murder.

Another element that has to show up is premeditation and planning. There are various ways to interpret this, so it can get a bit tricky, but the basic idea is that someone is guilty of first degree murder if the person sat down and thought out how to do the killing before carrying it out. This shows that he or she thought rationally about it and acted in accordance, with intent.

However, it is worth noting that murder charges can also show up in cases where a felony was being committed. A robber may break into a home with no intent to kill someone, for example, but if that person dies during the robbery, even accidentally, the robber could still be charged since he or she was committing a different felony at the time of the death.

Source: FindLaw, "First Degree Murder Overview" Oct. 14, 2014

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