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Murder Charges

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Mark Broughton > Murder Charges
Mark Broughton > Murder Charges

What are Murder Charges/Homicide?

Murder charges can accompany a homicide. Homicide occurs when someone takes the life of another human being. Whether it’s either intentional or an accident. Homicide is not always a crime, since it can occur as an act of self-defense.

Criminal homicides can involve either negligence or willful intent. Plus, they range from involuntary manslaughter to 1st-degree murder.

1st-Degree Murder Charges

Both first and second-degree murder require malice aforethought. Malice is either expressed or implied. When it is expressed, death was intentional. When it is implied, death resulted from either an intentional act or related consequences.

Malice aforethought doesn’t mean someone acts with hatred towards someone else. However, it means that someone with an unprovoked, disregard for human life acted in a way that most likely would result in the death of another person.

In order to be convicted of 1st-degree murder, one of the following must be true.

  • Death was either intentional, done consciously or planned. For example: a man waits inside his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. Until she comes home. Then, he kills her.
  • The murder occurred during a felony. For instance, either fire, robbery or rape. If a person set a house on fire, then someone died as a result of the fire. Then, first-degree murder charges follow.


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2nd-Degree Murder Charges

Second-degree murder is willful. However, it is not premeditated. Second-degree murder charges occur when you intend to cause harm. Or you know that you are causing destruction. But you don’t necessarily mean to kill someone in the process. Anything not considered 1st-degree murder, is 2nd-degree murder.

murder homicide

Capital Murder Charges

Capital murder is 1st-degree murder with special circumstances. The penalties for capital murder charges include the following.

  • The death penalty and also…
  • Life in a state prison without the possibility of parole.

First-degree murder becomes capital murder under these circumstances:

  • Intentional murder also committed for financial gain.
  • Plus, more than one murder victim.
  • Also, if either a police officer, firefighter, prosecutor, judge, juror or elected official was murdered, then it’s capital murder.
  • The murder of a witness, to prevent him/her from testifying.
  • Moreover, murder occurred before, during or after committing any of the felonies under the felony-murder rule.
  • A person was murdered because of their race, religion, nationality or country of origin.
  • Murder as a result of a drive-by shooting.
  • Finally, murder for the benefit of a street gang.


Additionally, you can view the full list of capital murder charge circumstances via the California Penal Code 190.2.

Felony Murder Rule

The felony murder rule applies to both 1st and 2nd-degree murder. It holds people liable if they commit murder, while also committing a felony. Murder does not have to be intentional. However, it does need to be logically related to the felony committed. For example, if someone sets fire to a building and then someone dies. Then, the felony murder rule applies. This unforeseeable death makes the arsonist liable for murder charges. That is, as long as it was more than a coincidence between both the time and place of the murder and the other felony.

1st-Degree Felony Murder

The felony murder rule only applies to the following felonies.

  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Carjacking
  • Train wrecking
  • Kidnapping
  • Mayhem
  • Torture
  • Certain sex crimes like:
    • Rape
    • Unlawful acts of sodomy
    • Unlawful acts of oral copulation
    • Forcible acts of penetration
    • Lewd acts with a minor

2nd-Degree Felony Murder

The felony murder rule applies to 2nd-degree murder when the felonies are:

  • Inherently dangerous.
  • Not included in the 1st-degree felony murder rule.

Felonies that are inherently dangerous are those that cannot be committed without the creating a probable risk that someone will be killed.

Legal Defenses for Murder/Homicide

If you acted in self-defense or defense of others, then California’s self-defense laws can protect you. However, you have to reasonably believe that you or someone else is in immediate danger of one of the following.

  • Dying
  • Suffering great bodily injury
  • Rape, robbery, or some other forcible act

If any of these situations apply, then you have the right to use whatever measures necessary to stop the event from happening.

Murder can be an accident if:

  • There was no criminal intent to do any harm.
  • The defendant was not acting negligently.
  • The defendant followed the law at the time of the murder.

It’s possible to plead “not guilty by reason of insanity” when charged with murder. The M’Naughten test must be taken in order to prove that the defendant only killed because they didn’t understand what they were doing. Or they couldn’t distinguish between right and wrong.

If it is proven that the defendant was insane at the time of the murder, then he/she is generally charged with manslaughter. Then, the judge can sentence him/her to any amount of time in jail. Or the judge can commit him/her to a psychiatric hospital.

Have you received homicide or murder charges? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, then it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an attorney who not only understands your situation but also the consequences you face.

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Phone: 559-691-6222

Your Defense Attorney for Murder/Homicide Charges

I’m Mark A. Broughton. And I’m here to fight for you. I have been a Criminal Defense Lawyer/Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with not only Felonies, Federal Crimes, and White Collar Crimes but also Violent Crimes, Gang Crimes and Sex Crimes, to name a few.

10.0Mark A. Broughton
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About Mark Broughton:

Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:

Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. Mark estimates he has conducted over 200 jury trials. For example, DUIs, drug cases and sex cases. Also domestic violence, assaults and “three-strikes” cases. Plus, dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings and robberies. Finally, attempted murders and murders (including special circumstance murder cases).

He received many outright not guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases. At one time, between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients not guilty, that is, in four separate cases in a row.

Mark Broughton is qualified as not only as a death penalty lawyer but also he is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California. Plus, he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.

Other Qualifications:
  • Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
  • Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
  • Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section

Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients.  He sees every individual’s situation. Not only with compassion but also with empathy. Plus, he not only believes that every person has the right to a fair trial but also that they’re innocent until proven guilty.

Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients with their families. That is, during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives.

Practice Areas

  • Federal Crime 40%
  • White Collar Crime 20%
  • Violent Crime 20%
  • Criminal Defense 10%
  • Sex Crimes 10%

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