Homicide and manslaughter are the most serious crimes an accused and their family may face. These charges prompt strong emotion and often generate intense publicity and reaction by both the community and law enforcement. Based on statistics, homicide detectives are aware that most murder victims knew their killer. As a result, most initial investigations consider all people known to the murder victim as potential suspects. Spouses, family members, friends, significant others, neighbors and co-workers can be considered until a theory of the prosecution is established. When this occurs, circumstantial evidence may point investigators to you or a loved one as a primary suspect.
As soon as you believe you are a suspect of a murder investigation, it is imperative to retain legal representation. An experienced criminal defense lawyer, familiar with the criminal court process, can ensure that your rights are protected and advise you of your options. When charged with homicide, not only is a person’s liberty and reputation at stake, but his or her life may also be.
In Pennsylvania, Criminal Homicide is defined as intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causing the death of another human being. The charge of Criminal Homicide is further broken down into three degrees of Murder as well as the charges of Voluntary Manslaughter and Involuntary Manslaughter. 1st Degree Murder generally means an intentional killing; 2nd Degree Murder occurs when it is committed while defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony; and 3rd Degree Murder includes “All other kinds of murder.”
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when an accused causes the death of another person under a sudden and intense passion (in the heat of the moment) resulting from serious provocation by the individual killed and without any prior deliberation.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when an accused causes the death of another person as direct result of a reckless indifference towards the well being of others. Unlike other forms of homicide, the defendant need not have formed the intent to kill and can be convicted if it is proven they acted with a reckless disregard for human life.
To defend against charges of Murder or Manslaughter, including Capitol cases where the prosecutor seeks the death penalty, requires aggressive trial strategy from an experienced and committed legal team of lawyers and legal professionals. When appropriate, we will work to convince the authorities to reduce or dismiss cases at their inception–before reputations are destroyed and life and our very liberty is in peril. When these cases do proceed to Court, our criminal defense team explores all the evidence and possible defenses so that we may aggressively defend our clients against such charges. Working with experts and private investigators, we analyze the evidence, interview witnesses, follow alternative leads, and develop a defense to your case.