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Those murders that are committed with premeditation and deliberation or under special circumstances are murders in the first degree. All murders that are perpetrated by means of poison, torture, bombs, etc. or lying in wait are automatically first-degree murder. There is no need to show any further evidence of deliberation and premeditation. Felony murder is also considered to be first-degree murder in many jurisdictions. Premeditation: The idea of killing was entertained prior to the act of killing; there is no set time limit for this premeditation. Deliberation: Defendant was acting calmly and he did in fact reflect on the idea of killing.


The lesser included offenses of first-degree murder are: 1) Second degree murder. 2) Attempted first-degree murder. 3) Attempted second degree murder. 4) Voluntary manslaughter. 5) Attempted voluntary manslaughter. 6) Battery. 7) Assault. degree murder.


At common law, murder was defined as the unlawful killing of another human being with 'malice aforethought.' Because the common law definition of 'malice aforethought' was extremely flexible, 'it became over time an 'arbitrary symbol' used by trial judges to signify any of the number of mental states deemed sufficient to support liability for murder.' John S. Baker, Jr., Daniel H. ...

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