Murder Law & Legal Definition


A person commits the crime of murder if with intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of that person or of another person,or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person other than himself, and thereby causes the death of another person. Murder may also be committed when a person commits or attempts to commit arson, burglary, escape, kidnapping, rape, robbery, sodomy or any other felony clearly dangerous to human life and, in the course of and in furtherance of the crime that he is committing or attempting to commit, or in immediate flight therefrom, he, or another participant if there is any, causes the death of any person.

A person may be found not to have committed murder if he or she was moved to act by a sudden heat of passion caused by provocation recognized by law, and before there had been a reasonable time for the passion to cool and for reason to reassert itself. However, a killing with such provocation does not preclude a conviction of, manslaughter or other crime.

Both aggravated murder and simple murder have the element of purposely causing the death of another. Aggravated murder contains the additional element of prior calculation and design.

The following is a example of a state statute dealing with murder:
2903.02. Murder.

  1. No person shall purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.
  2. No person shall cause the death of another as a proximate result of the offender's committing or attempting to commit an offense of violence that is a felony of the first or second degree and that is not a violation of section 2903.03 or 2903.04 of the Revised Code.
  3. Division (B) of this section does not apply to an offense that becomes a felony of the first or second degree only if the offender previously has been convicted of that offense or another specified offense.
  4. Whoever violates this section is guilty of murder, and shall be punished as provided in section 2929.02 of the Revised Code.