Capital Murder – Definition, Examples, Meaning, Cases and Sentences (2023)

capital cityMurderit is a murder that carries the death penalty if convicted. For this to be true, there must be some extreme extenuating circumstances, often referred to as "special circumstances," in addition to the cause of death. This could include things like killing a police officer, killing a child, or killing multiple victims. To explore this concept, consider the following definition of capital murder.

Capital Murder Definition


  1. A murder punishable by death as the most serious offense


(Video) What's the difference between a capital murder trial and a murder trial?

1300-1350 Middle English

What is capital murder?

Murder is the unlawful killing of another person without justification and is considered the most serious crime a person can commit. A person who commits murder can be sentenced to the most severe penalties, including spending the rest of his life inprison🇧🇷 Murdering someone under special circumstances who is charged with capital murder in many states is considered a heinous crime, even when considering other murders. For this reason, the perpetrator can be sentenced to death in many states.

murder ratings

Throughout history, the definition of what constitutes murder has evolved. Modern legal systems group the crime of homicide into various classifications depending on the specific circumstances of the crime. These reviews include:

  1. intentional murder
  2. Manslaughter resulting from an intentional act intended to cause serious bodily injury
  3. Murder resulting from extreme and wanton recklessness
  4. Murder by an accomplice when a person commits, attempts to commit, or avoids committingcrime

These classifications of homicide are called "grades" of homicide in many jurisdictions. While some states define these degrees of murder numerically, others use specific name tags in their laws. Regardless of the nomenclature system used, the penalties for the crime of homicide increase significantly with the seriousness of the crime committed.


Capital Murder vs. First Degree Murder

Capital murder is a murder for which the perpetrator can be convicteddeath penalty, esa es la pena de muerte. Con mucho, el delito más común por el que los delincuentes son condenados a muerte es el asesinato, aunque los detalles de lo que constituye circunstancias especiales varían de un estado a otro. El asesinato en primer grado siempre se considera asesinato en primer grado, aunque el asesinato en primer grado no siempre es un asesinato en primer grado. Esto se debe a que otros delitos califican para la pena de muerte, como el asesinato cometido mientras se comete otro delito.

The specific elements that lead to a classification of capital murder or first degree manslaughter vary by state, but the most common elements include:

  • Voluntary and intentional– the perpetrator intended to kill the victim and had time to think about it, considering the consequences, even for a whilepresentationTempo.
  • Kill while committing another crime– A person can be charged with murder if someone is killed in the commission of another crime, even if they did not kill the victim. This is also known as "criminal murder" and generally assumes that the death was a foreseeable consequence of the original crime.
  • Reason– The perpetrator had a good motive or reason for killing the victim.
  • special circumstances- Some states list certain special circumstances, such as how the murder was committed, who was killed, and other circumstances so horrific that they automatically increase the seriousness of the crime. Special circumstances that qualify the offender for the death penalty include:
    • kill by ambush
    • Murder by poisoning, beheading, or torture
    • Murder combined with another violent crime, such assexual assault
    • premeditated murder of a child
    • murder of more than one person

Capital Murder Example - First Degree Murder

Lola is stuck at a job where her boss, Beth, constantly scolds her, makes her work late, and expects her to do things that are outside her job description. Lola looks for a way out without being unable to playunemploymentAdvantage. She knows that Beth loves tea since Lola has to make her a cup several times a day.

Lola hatches a plan. She takes a bag full of dried oleander leaves, crumples them up, and stuffs them into tea bags. Twice a day, Lola adds an oleander tea bag to one of Beth's regular teas. In a few days, Beth gets sick and Lola offers to come over to her house to run some errands and offers her another cup of tea.

(Video) Murder, Manslaughter, Homicide, a killing differences explained in less than 5 minutes

Beth dies from oleander poison and Lola's secret is soon out. Although Lola thought that she had a good reason to kill her boss, the law disagrees. In this example of capital murder, Lola not only thought, planned, and carried out the murder, but she also poisoned her boss.

second degree murder

second degree murderrefers to the murder of a person that was premeditated and withwillful malice, but this was neither pre-planned nor intentional. A second degree murder is a murder caused by the perpetrator's dangerous act or apparent lack of concern for the lives of others. However, this does not include killing in the heat of passion, which is contemplatedvoluntary killing🇧🇷 Second degree murder does not qualify for the death penalty.

death penalty

Capital murder is called capital murder, which is the legal killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The death penalty is commonly known as "capital punishment." Historically, the death penalty has been widely accepted in some places for crimes that today do not seem serious enough to warrant such a high price. There were 162 documented executions in the 18th century United States, although documentation in the colonies at the time was incomplete, leaving historians to wonder how many people paid for their crimes with their lives.

When the colonies wrote their own constitutions at the end of the Revolutionary War, most excluded "cruel and unusual punishment" as punishment for any crime. However, this did not stop the death penalty, as all the colonies recognized the death penalty. The First Congress of the United States approved the death penalty for the crimes of murder.violation,robo, zfalseof Public Securities, in 1790.

(Video) What is a Capital Crime?

Modern times have brought controversy on the issue of the death penalty. Many people in the US believe that the death penalty should be prohibited regardless of the crime, others believe that it is necessary not only to punish the perpetrator of the heinous crime of capital murder, but also to deter others from committing similar crimes. The issues of the death penalty and what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment have occupied the Supreme Court for many years.

As of 2016, 31 states recognize the death penalty, and murder is not the only crime for which someone can be sentenced to death. In the United States, the death penalty can be imposed for murder.terrorism,Treason, espionage, large scaledrug dealing, Federal Murder and Attempted Murder of a Jury Member,witness, or bailiff. In addition, US military law allows for the execution of soldiers for certain reasons.

Example of death penalty for murder

In 1974, several attractive female students were found raped and murdered in the state of Washington. Witnesses told investigators they saw a Volkswagen Beetle and a young man who appeared to be injured. The following year, similar murders were committed in Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. In August 1975, the police arrested the owner of the Volkswagen, unaware that the driver was the perpetrator of a long string of murders in several states. However, they found several items in the car that made them suspicious, including a ski mask, handcuffs, and a rope.

Authorities in various states began to connect the dots of the murders, and Theodore "Ted" Bundy, the perpetrator of the chain murder, was eventually recognized as the most notorious serial killer in United States history. In February 1976, Bundy was found guilty of kidnapping and assaulting a teenager in Utah and was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. As a result of further investigation, Bundy was charged with the murder of a girl in Colorado.

(Video) Judge hands down death sentence for child rapist, killer Granville Ritchie

Bundy twice escaped police custody when Bundy broke into a Florida fraternity on January 14, 1978, assaulting four residents, killing two of them. About a month later, Bundy kidnapped and murdered a 12-year-old girl, Kimberly Leach. Bundy was recaptured when police stopped his vehicle in February 1979. Three months later, Bundy was tried and convicted of the frat house murder, for which he received the death penalty. A year later, Bundy was convicted of the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, for which he received another death sentence.

It was Bundy's cruelty in the way he raped and murdered his victims that first exposed him to capital murder charges. Later, when authorities were able to confirm that he had killed multiple victims in several states, his crimes escalated back to the level of capital murder. In all, Bundy admitted to just 36 murders, though authorities believe the true number is much higher. In this example of capital murder, Ted Bundy was sentenced to death in the electric chair on January 24, 1989 at Florida State Prison.

Terms and Related Legal Issues

  • willful malice– The conscious intent to kill another person or cause serious bodily harm before committing the crime.
  • Author– A person who commits an illegal or criminal act.
  • intentional- Intend to perform an action, such as B. a crime.


What is an example of capital murder cases? ›

A person accused of causing the death of another while in the commission or attempted commission of kidnapping, robbery, burglary, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat is charged with Capital Murder under Penal Code Section 19.03.

What is the definition of capital murder? ›

Capital murder is the most serious form of homicide that can be charged in Nevada. This violent crime is defined a first-degree murder carried out with at least one aggravating circumstance that outweigh any mitigating circumstances.

What are examples of capital cases? ›

Capital cases are cases that, if the defendant is guilty, he or she will face the death penalty. First-degree murder cases, either on grounds of premeditation or cases that based on the felony-murder doctrine are generally capital cases.

What is the minimum sentence for capital murder in Texas? ›

The punishment for a crime of this level is between five and 99 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. The only exception to this is the crime of capital murder. The penalty for a capital crime in Texas is life imprisonment or the death penalty.

What are examples of capital punishments? ›

Overview. The primary means of execution in the U.S. have been hanging, electrocution, the gas chamber, firing squad, and lethal injection.

What is a capital case? ›

A capital case is one where the defendant is charged with first-degree murder and the state has decided to seek the death penalty as punishment if the defendant is convicted. A capital case involves several phases: Trial, Aggravation Phase, Penalty Phase.

What does capital mean in crime? ›

A capital offense is a criminal charge that is punishable by the death penalty. It is not necessary that the actual punishment imposed was the death penalty, but rather a capital office is classified as such if the permissible punishment prescribed by the legislature for the offense is the death penalty.

What is the difference between capital murder and murder one? ›

One type of first-degree murder is capital murder. Capital murder is first-degree murder with “special circumstances” that make the crime even more egregious. These cases can be punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole, or death.

What is the classification of capital murder? ›

Capital murder is first degree murder that can result in the death penalty. The state has to have a capital punishment law, and often the crime has to have exceptional circumstances surrounding it. Usually, this is the murder of a police officer, firefighter, or another government worker.

What are 4 examples of capital? ›

The four major types of capital include working capital, debt, equity, and trading capital.

What would be three examples of capital? ›

Sources of financial capital include: Profits. Loans and bonds. Corporate stock.

What types of crimes are considered capital punishment in Texas? ›

In Texas, capital murder is the only felony that is eligible for the death penalty.
  • The murder of a police officer or fireman while acting in an official capacity.
  • Intentionally taking a life in the course of another felony such as kidnapping, burglary or aggravated sexual assault.
  • Murder for hire.

How many years is a life sentence? ›

There is one exception to this rule, which is when a judge passes a 'whole life order'. This sentence means that the offender must spend the rest of their life in prison. A life sentence always lasts for life, whatever the length of the minimum term.

How much of your sentence do you serve in Texas? ›

State jail felons generally serve every day of their sentence. Time served for misdemeanors in Texas varies by county. In Harris County, misdemeanor defendants usually get two days credit for one day served. In counties with more crowded jails, a defendant may get three days credit for each day served.

What 3 crimes could get capital punishment? ›

Treason. Murder related to a continuing criminal enterprise or drug trafficking offense, or drug-related murder of a Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer. Aircraft piracy resulting in death.

What is the most common capital offense? ›

Capital offense—A criminal offense punishable by death. Offenses that are eligible for a death sentence are defined by statute in each jurisdiction that authorizes capital punishment. The most common is first-degree murder accompanied by at least one aggravating factor.

What type of punishment is capital punishment? ›

Capital punishment is the practice of executing someone as punishment for a specific crime after a proper legal trial. It can only be used by a state, so when non-state organisations speak of having 'executed' a person they have actually committed a murder.

How many stages are in a capital case? ›


Each state practicing capital punishment has different laws regarding its methods and crimes that qualify. Typically, it involves four critical steps: Sentencing, Direct Review, State Collateral Review, and Federal Habeas Corpus.

What cases receive capital punishment? ›

Overview. All of the prisoners currently on death row and all of those executed in the modern era of the death penalty were convicted of murder. Historically, the death penalty was widely used for rape, particularly against black defendants with white victims.

What does capital mean in law? ›

Capital is any asset used for a productive purpose. It can include tangible items, such as cash or machinery, or intangible items, such as intellectual property or human capital.

What does capital mean in a sentence? ›

the most important place for a particular business or activity: London used to be the financial capital of the world. More examples. In defiance of the ceasefire, rebel troops are again firing on the capital. Fighting around the capital has intensified in the last few hours.

How many capital crimes are there? ›

The US federal government lists 41 capital offenses that are punishable by death. See the full list below. The capital offenses include espionage, treason, and death resulting from aircraft hijacking.

Is murder the only capital crime? ›

In most countries that practise capital punishment, it is now reserved for murder, terrorism, war crimes, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice.

What is the difference between felony and capital murder? ›

If you kill someone during the commission of a felony, this is called felony murder and counts as capital murder. The underlying felony must create a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm if the accused did not set out or intend to kill the victim.

What is the difference between first-degree capital murder? ›

A conviction for capital murder is punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole. For a conviction of first-degree murder, you could be sentenced to 25 years to life in a California state prison, although if your crime was considered a hate crime, you may face life without parole.

What are the 2 categories of capital? ›

In business and economics, the two most common types of capital are financial and human.

What is the punishment for capital murder in California? ›

Capital murder is first-degree murder punishable by either: Capital punishment (the death penalty) in California, or. Life in prison without the possibility of parole. (LWOP.)

What are the 7 types of capital? ›

The seven community capitals are natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial, and built. Natural Capital includes all natural aspects of community. Assets of clean water, clean air, wildlife, parks, lakes, good soil, landscape – all are examples of natural capital.

What are the 8 types of capital? ›

The eight capitals: intellectual, financial, natural, cultural, built, political, individual and social.

What are the 5 features of capital? ›

Capital has several important characteristics that are as follows:
  • Capital is a Passive Factor. Capital is a passive factor of production. ...
  • Capital is Man-Made. ...
  • Capital is not Indispensable. ...
  • Capital has high mobility. ...
  • Capital is Elastic. ...
  • Capital Depreciates. ...
  • Capital is Productive. ...
  • Capital is Temporary in Nature.
Dec 11, 2020

What is an example of human capital? ›

Examples of human capital include the education, technical training, or problem-solving skills that a person offers to a business. Education is one of the most important elements of human capital, as it often leads to increased economic output, higher individual income, and increased economic mobility for families.

What is a capital good your answer? ›

Capital goods are any tangible asset used by a business to produce goods or services for consumer goods or for use by other businesses. They are generally durable goods that can be used more than once. The most common capital goods are property, plants, and equipment (PPE).

Does life sentence mean jail forever? ›

This is a prison sentence given to a convicted defendant in which they will remain in prison for their entire life and will not have the ability to a conditional release before they complete this sentence (see Parole).

Can you get out a life sentence? ›

A defendant who has served the minimum sentence can apply to a parole board for release. (A judge typically hands out the initial sentence but takes no part in the release decision.) A defendant who receives life without parole cannot apply for release.

Is a life sentence in jail the rest of your life? ›

Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted people are to remain in prison for the rest of their natural lives or indefinitely until pardoned, paroled, or otherwise commuted to a fixed term.

What are two examples of capital crimes? ›

Although crimes punishable by death vary from state to state, generally, capital offenses include first degree murder, or murder with special circumstances.

What types of crimes were capital crimes? ›

A number of crimes are punishable by death including murder, terrorism, robbery, treason, economic crimes, espionage and war crimes.


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