A seven-month-old infant died earlier this summer after being left in a hot car near the Georgia coast. The Kingsland Police Inspector says the investigation into the case continues. Murder charges are possible. Prior to thunderstorms in the afternoon, the temperature had been in the 90s when the driver left the child in the car.
Sadly, this is not the first case of a child dying in a car during the heat of the summer. In 2014, Justin Ross Harris became notorious for leaving his son, 22-month-old Cooper in his vehicle for seven hours while he was at work. Harris was later convicted of felony murder, as well as eight counts of malice murder, and cruelty to children.
Types of Murder
Like all states, the state of Georgia also recognizes different kinds of homicide and punishes each type differently. The amount of time a person serves in prison depends on the type of murder conviction he or she receives.
- Malice Murder: The law defines murder as unlawfully killing a person with malice aforethought. This simply means that the person deliberately intended to take another person’s life. Malice murder can also arise when a person has acted with a malignant and abandoned heart. For example, if a man breaks into his ex-girlfriend’s house and kills her in cold blood.
- Felony Murder: Georgia also recognizes felony murder, which does not require malice aforethought. Felony murder is a death that occurs during the commission of a felony. For example, when someone robs a convenience store and accidentally runs over a pedestrian when leaving the store. The death, although it was accidental, still qualifies as murder.
- Manslaughter: This crime is when someone kills another person on purpose, but in the heat of passion due to serious provocation. For example, two people get into a fight and one of them overacts and kills the other. This would likely result in voluntary manslaughter charges.
- Involuntary Manslaughter: This occurs when one person unintentionally kills another individual; for example, if someone was cutting down a tree and it falls into the neighbor’s house and kills someone. Since the death was accidental, the defendant would be charged with involuntary manslaughter. This is much less serious than homicide, but can result in time in prison.
Punishment for Murder and Manslaughter
The punishments for manslaughter tend to be more lenient than those for homicide. If a person commits involuntary manslaughter, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison. Felony murder and malice murder, on the other hand, could result in life in prison or even the death penalty.
Having a felony on your record can result in consequences beyond time in prison. It can affect your ability to get a job, obtain a license, and prohibit you from owning or buying a firearm.
Contact a Criminal Attorney Today
If you are facing homicide or manslaughter charges, there may be defenses you can raise in court. The amount of time served in prison differs dramatically depending on the charges. An experienced, knowledgeable criminal law attorney can help get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact the attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law today for a consultation.