When one person is accused of killing another, law enforcement usually attempts to determine whether the killing was intentional or an act of negligence or recklessness. An intentional act of murder comes with higher penalties than those for an accidental killing. However, any criminal charge resulting from a fatality is serious in Missouri, regardless of the circumstances.
According to FindLaw, an unintentional but criminally reckless or negligent death can be classified as manslaughter in Missouri. Manslaughter degrees can vary. For example, the charges for a fatality that occurred after a bar fight, in which one person meant to harm the other but not to kill him, would be more serious than manslaughter charges against a person for running a red light and causing a fatal car accident.
A recent incident that occurred in Shannon County illustrates a manslaughter charge for someone who was allegedly acting negligently. KY3 News reported that after a bar employee fell down the establishment’s stairs and hit his head on a door, knocking himself unconscious, the bar’s owner shook him, but left the bar when the employee did not respond. Unfortunately, the employee succumbed to his injuries. His family said he would have likely survived if his employer had called 911. The man was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Charges resulting from the death of another can be devastating, having the ability to change a person’s life forever. Often, the person who is being blamed never intended for anyone to get hurt, let alone lose their life. Any criminal charge should be considered serious, necessitating experienced legal counsel.