Murder in the Second-Degree is any murder which is not Murder in the First Degree. Generally speaking, the critical difference between First-Degree Murder and Second-Degree Murder is the time between the formation of the intent to kill and the killing itself.
If a person’s conscious intent or design to kill existed only momentarily before he committed the fatal act, it is Second-Degree Murder. Under Massachusetts criminal law, the crime of Second-Degree Murder may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 1.
Legal Elements of Second-Degree Murder
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In order to be convicted of Second-Degree Murder, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- the defendant caused the death of the victim;
- the defendant either (a) intended to kill the victim or (b) intended to cause grievous bodily harm to the victim or (c) intended to do an act which, in the circumstances known to the defendant, a reasonable person would have known created a plain and strong likelihood that death would result.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Massachusetts
A defendant convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Massachusetts shall be punished by state prison for life. This potential consequence for Second-Degree Murder, if convicted, may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 2.
If you have been charged with second-degree murder charges and need representation, contact the Massachusetts Murder Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (508) 213-9113 to schedule a free consultation.