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Murder

INTRODUCTION
Homicide
Non-negligent manslaughter. One that has no intentions of causing death
Murder. One that has intentions
First degree murder
Second degree murder

Homicide, defined by the Murphy Law Office, is the killing of one person by another (Murphy Law Office, 2016). Homicide can happen in all types of situations, such as in war, at a medical setting, or even in an accident. Basically, homicide can be with or without malice aforethought. Homicides with malice aforethought are considered as murder. Murder can be divided into first-degree murder and second-degree murder (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012)., which will be elaborated in later slides. Those without malice aforethought are categorized as non-negligent manslaughter, which means that the person has no intention to kill but still resulted in the death of another person (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). It may seem like murder cases occur fairly often due to this subject being spread and used in the vast entertainment media, however, among all the violent crimes, only 1 percent of the crimes are murder crimes. In this presentation, we will be focusing on murder crimes.
2

FIRST-DEGREE MURDER

The goal of this is to kill
It is unlaw
it is deliberate

One of the categories of the murder cases is called first-degree murder. This type of murder is the unlawful killing of one human being by another with malice aforethought, either expressed or implied. Malice aforethought means to have the thought of planning the killing ahead of time (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). In order to be qualified as a first-degree murder, this killing must meet three criteria. These three criteria include intent, deliberation, and premeditation (Halt.org, 2019). All three criteria have to be met. Intent makes sure the goal is to kill; someone must die. However, killing the wrong person while intending to kill another person also meets the standard of “intent” criterion. The second and third criteria go together, meaning that the killing is planned. Even if the person pauses to think about his action, and still eventually goes ahead and kills the other person, this is also considered as a first-degree murder (Halt.org, 2019).
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second-degree MURDER
It is not premeditated
The pass has intentions to kill
The punishment in this case is less severe unlike the 1st degree murder
They do not care about human life when conducting such occurrences

Another category of murder cases is called the second-degree murder. It is important to distinguish the differences between the two types of murder. Like first degree murder, the act of killing should have an intention, a thought that drives the killing. However, different from the first-degree murders, second degree murders are not premediated, meaning that the murder is not planned ahead of time. Situations when a person acts recklessly and obviously shows the lack of concern for human life, which eventually results in the death of another person, satisfies as a second-degree murder. The punishment for second degree murder would usually be less severe than that of the first-degree murder. The distinctions between the two types have gradually been vague in recent years (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). Eventually, it is up to the judge’s decision to announce the sentence. Therefore, there must be considerably enough proof by the law’s standard that the person is guilty of a second-degree murder.
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Abandoned heart
It happens as a result of carelessness
It does not consider any moral standards
Thy do not intend to harm or kill
the reckless behavior associated with this contributes to death
The rocks thrown ends up killing people

According to the Legal Environment of the Coroner’s Work (n.d.), the definition of an abandoned heart is “the intent to do any act with such a reckless disregard for the probability of the death of another human being as to be the equivalent of an intent to kill.” Abandoned heart can also be termed as the “abandoned and malignant heart” (The Legal Environment of the Coroner’s Work, n.d.). An abandoned heart is an unusual situation. Usually, people act carefully. People who have knowledge of what is dangerous and what is not, rarely act carelessly. Yet, people who basically disregard the importance of human life, act with extreme carelessness. The reckless behavior eventually becomes the direct harm and cause of death of another individual or individuals. Individuals without moral standards are more likely to commit this type of murder. An example would be throwing a rock off the building, causing the person to get hit and die.

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bodily harm
The first case is assault with an intention of causing injury to other people
the worst thing is assault
It will also result to assault where the intention is inflict pain through the use of instruments such as a knife.
In the event of death, it is stated to be murder.

The intent to cause grievous bodily harm resulting in death is the most severe form of assault. An assault, according to the definition provided by Bartol (2012), is the intentional inflicting of bodily injury on another person, or the attempt to inflict such injury. This definition is accepted by most jurisdictions in the U.S. An assault turns into an aggravated assault when the bodily injury is too serious, sometimes resulting in death. Aggravated assault oftentimes is accompanied by the use of dangerous instruments, such as a gun, a knife, an ax, a sharp or blunt object. One exception regarding the use of instruments is a person’s fist. A fist counts as “dangerous” when the one being hit is seriously injured, or dead. In this scenario, the person who hits the victim is responsible and may be charged with an aggravated assault or murder, in the case of a dead victim (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012).
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Felony murder rule
It came from England referred to as the common law
It is kind of a doctrine
It causes death among victims
There is no case of double charging

A felony murder rule is basically a rule or a doctrine that gives the prosecutor some guidelines in the prosecution of a felon. This doctrine first originated from the Common Law in England, stating that any actions that cause a death, regardless of who caused it, is responsible for murder. This rule is strict and did not accommodate for reasonable circumstances. For example, a police officer killed a robber who was trying to kill the hostage. This police officer would be charged with murder back then according to the law in England. Nowadays, reasonable circumstances are taken into account and in some situations, causing one’s death may possibly not be held responsible. The felony murder rule specifies that the killing/death must be the consequence of the felony. Basically, this victim dies during the occurrence of the felony. When the crime fits the felony murder rule, there is no need to prove the intention to kill during the prosecution. Since the elements of felony overlaps with murder in this case, the perpetrator would not be double charged with both the felony and murder; he would only be charged with murder (Felony-Murder Rule, 2020).
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Voluntary manslaughter
Its intention is to kill
It is termed to be crime with passion
termed to be different from the second degree murder
A person who is mentally disturbed

Voluntary manslaughter is also known as the crime of passion. This type of killing is an intentional killing however, it happens under the circumstances when the perpetrator is emotionally or mentally disturbed or unstable. The emotion can be provoked. This person does not have prior intent to kill, but because of his disturbed mental state, he accidently killed the person who he was not intending to kill. The elements of voluntary manslaughter are quite similar to those of the second degree murder. However, there is still a key distinction, and that is the different circumstances and mental state during the occurrence of the crime. For instance, a bar fight that lead to accidently killing someone is a form of second degree murder. However, if the same bar fight that results in death happens because the perpetrator finds out his wife is unfaithful with someone inside the bar, then this is a form of voluntary manslaughter (Murphy Law Office, 2016).
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Involuntary manslaughter
It is stated to be a negligent act
The intention is to kills
It can be as a result of drunk drinking
Their intentions are not meant to kills

On the other hand, there is involuntary manslaughter. First, the person who commits an involuntary manslaughter does not have the intention to kill. He does not have the intention to cause death to other people. However, his intentional negligent act results in someone’s death (Murphy Law Office, 2016). For instance, drunk driving is a good illustration of involuntary manslaughter if someone dies in this incident.  The person “intentionally” to drive knowing that he is drunk, and because of the slowed brain function caused by alcohol, he “unintentionally” runs the red light and kills a pedestrian who is crossing the street on a green light for his direction. This is similar to a motor vehicle accident which results in death. In the same example but this time the driver is not drunk at all; he is rushing to the hospital because his wife is in labor. He runs the red light and kills a pedestrian. This is still a form of involuntary manslaughter. He has no intention at all to kill the pedestrian in both examples but because of his negligent act, he will be held responsible for it (Madd, 2018).
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mental states of murder
Prosecution
Mental state
it can happen as a result of recklessness, purpose and negligence

For the prosecutor to prosecute a crime, the suspect/perpetrator must have the required mental state during the offense. Or else, he could use the insanity defense to plea nonguilty. The term for the mental state is called the mens rea, which means the guilty mind. For murder, the most important mental element is the malice aforethought (Law Shelf, 2020). On top of that, there are other required mental states for murder, including knowledge, and recklessness. Knowledge refers to a person who knows and is aware of his actions bringing serious consequences. Recklessness refers to the awareness of a substantial risk resulting in specific actions. The difference between knowledge and recklessness is that the previous, the certain result following his actions is known while the latter, no specific result is known, only the presence of a substantial risk is known (Law Shelf, 2020). Although negligence is one of the levels of mens rea, it will not be discussed in this slide because it is not a required mental state of murder but that of manslaughter.
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Psychopathological theories THAT EXPLAIN MURDER
Anger and violence management
Psychopathy theory
Cognitive theory
Psychodynamic theory
Attachment theory
Behavioral theory

There are different causes and reasons behind why people choose to commit criminal acts, especially a felony like murder. The main problem in a lot of research pointed out that violence, aggression, and anger control are closely related to criminal conducts (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). It is important for psychologists to focus on the mental process of these criminals. Most research has associated these violent acts with different aspects such as learning, personality, intelligence, and aggressive behaviors (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). The theories that we will be talking about in regard to the explanation of the murder act are cognitive theory, attachment theory, psychodynamic theory, behavioral theory, personality theory, as well as psychopathy theory. There are also biological factors as well as other factors that influence aggressive behaviors, but in the future slides, we will focus mainly on psychological theories.

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cognitive THEORY
Kohlberg—moral development
6 stages
Moral development becomes more advanced as one ages
Failure in development  aggression and violent behaviors
Piaget—reasoning abilities
Receives stimuli and learn the response
Failure  learn the wrong behavior!

The first psychological theories that may explain the act of murder is the cognitive theory. Kohlberg focuses on the moral development theory. He analyzed that there are six stages of moral development. As a normal person ages, the moral development should become more and more advanced. When he understands moral standards, he is more likely to express acts of generosity and love. However, on the other spectrum, when a person’s moral processing fails to develop, he would express low moral reasoning, possibly contributing to the violent acts and serious crime commission (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). Another psychologist, Piaget, also explains violent acts through the cognitive perspective. Piaget suggested that as a person develops, he receives and responds to environmental stimuli, process information, and develops reasoning and abstract thoughts, and these factors affects the reasoning abilities. When these abilities fail to properly develop, one is more likely to learn the wrong way of behaving and processing emotions (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010).
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attachment THEORY
Primary caregiver vs infant/children
Related to future development
Failure  affects personality and social life
4 main types
Secure—best, affective bonds doesn’t decline
Anxious—result in unbalanced relationship
Dismissive—result in unbalanced relationship
Fearful—result in unbalanced relationship

The attachment theory is also relevant to the act of murder. In fact, a lot of criminals who committed serious murder cases have not properly developed an attachment to their primary caregiver. Attachment styles are associated with crimes (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). In normal cases, parental involvement in children’s lives decline as the children ages into adolescence and then adulthood. Yet, the affective bonding does not decline as time passes (Keijsers, Loeber, Branje, & Meeus, 2012). The attachment theory mainly focuses on the primary caregiver as infants and children are the one reacting to the attachment provided. There are four main types of attachment styles, including secure, anxious, dismissive, and fearful. The ideal caregiver and child relationship is balanced between the two rather than one being really dependent on the other. Long-term neglect causes the attachment to be poorly developed affecting later personality development or social life and bonding with peers (Keigsers, et al., 2012).
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psychodynamic THEORY
Sigmund Freud
Violence is unconscious
Early childhood experiences is crucial!
Normal: Aggression = basic human impulse
Unnormal: Aggression leaks out of unconscious  violence! (aka displaced violence)

The psychodynamic theory is presented by Sigmund Freud. Freud contributes profoundly in the scope of psychodynamic with his main focus being the “unconscious”. Freud believed that violence is an unconscious element in the human brain. When a person develops normally and experiences a normal childhood, this unconscious element remains as the basic human impulse, just like a basic biological function in human beings. However, when an individual does not have a normal childhood, then this is when things become dangerous. Childhood experience is crucial in one’s early development. This can be evident in some of the theories mentioned. The aggression impulse is not controlled and over expressed to a certain degree, the aggression leaks out causing the individual to become dangerous and engage in violent acts. Freud termed this phenomenon as the displaced aggression (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). Displaced aggression may eventually lead to killing a person, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
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Behavioral theory
Behavior is learned!
Social interactions with the environment
Violence is not innate
Repeated exposure to violence
4 factors that help produce violence
Stressful even/stimulus triggered
Aggressive skills observed
Aggression will be socially rewarded when reduced (ex. Providing material goods when not throwing a tamper tantrum)
Certain violent incidents are condoned in the society

The behavioral theory has been associated with the violent behavior for years. Behavioral theory in psychology refers to that all behaviors are learned through interactions with the surroundings. Behavioralists believed that behaviors are not born but learned. Therefore, applying this theory to the violent behavior, proponents of behavioral theory believed that violence in human beings is learned though the social interactions with the environment. More importantly, these violent behaviors are probably repeatedly exposed. Another important concept in the behavioral theory is the punishment and reinforcement technique for behavior formation. That is, punishing the negative behaviors and rewarding the positive behaviors, can help shape one’s behavior. There are four factors that help produce the violent behaviors: triggering emotional arousal by a stressful stimulus, observing and learning aggressive skills through daily lives, rewarding the reduction of violent behaviors with goods and praise (when one wants a certain present, he turns on the learned violent behavior and reduces it to get what he wants), and condoning certain violent acts in the society in certain circumstances (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). These factors enhance the violent behaviors in an individual and if not corrected, they can be used for violence and to act violently.
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personality THOERY
Personality = stable patterns and characteristics that distinguish one from another.
Certain personality types are prone to crime commission
Characteristics associated with violence
Hostility, egoism, self-centeredness, spitefulness, jealousy, defiance, extroversion, narcissism, suspicion, etc.
Lack empathy, ambition, perseverance, difficulty controlling their tempers and impulses
Antisocial personality disorder (elaborated in the next slide)
Different subtypes

Another popular theory that has been connected with violent behaviors is the personality theory. Personality is defined as a stable patter and characteristics (behaviors, actions, and thoughts) that can distinguish one person from another (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). Basically, everyone’s personality is different. However, researchers found that certain types of behaviors are more prone to violent acts and criminal commission. They listed the common characteristics that are associated with violence are hostility, egoism, self-centeredness spitefulness, jealousy, defiance, extroversion, narcissism, suspicion, etc. (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). These characteristics are also relevant to the lack of empathy, perseverance, and difficulty controlling their tempers and impulses. Therefore, a common type of personality disorder—antisocial personality disorder is greatly connected with crime and violence. There are different subtypes of antisocial personality disorder, including narcissistic, sadistic, borderline, and antisocial types (Murphy, & Vess, 2003). These subtypes cover the aforementioned characteristics and constitute subtypes of psychopathy, which has the possibility to develop into psychopaths.
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PSYCHOPATHY THOERY
Justification of violent acts
It cab biological
it is linked with personality theory
It has got different defects, antisocial personality disorder and sociopathy
Remorseful
Impulsive and gets to violate rights

In the previous slide, we talked about the personality theory. The psychopathy theory is closely related to the personality theory. In the personality theory, we mentioned that certain characteristics in the personality involves unable to control tempers and impulses. This could be due to biological factors. Therefore, certain symptoms may be treated with medical innervations. Those characteristics defects the personality and therefore personality disorders exist, such as psychopathy, sociopaths, and ani-social personality disorders (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). People with these disorders usually are very impulsive, show low or no level of guilt while and after committing crimes and violent acts. Often times, they violate rights of others (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). Because of their personality disorders, they basically cannot feel anxiety or remorse. It is common that these individuals, when being prosecuted, uses the insanity defense to justify their actions, indicating that they are not in the “right mental state” during the crime commission. Are their actions justified due to their insanity? I think this is subject to debate.
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factors BEHIND
Serial killers are easier to analyze and prevent
One-time killers are more difficult
Factors
Race/ethnicity
Gender
Age
Socioeconomic class
Past experiences
Domestic violence
Weapon use
Too many environmental exposure to violent behavior
Cognitive control is the key!!!

Serial killers are, in comparison, easier to predict, analyze and prevent, due to their repeated crime commission with the same modus operandi. However, there are still a lot of factors that influence murderers who only kill one time, mostly related to how they grew up and their environment. These factors include race and ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic class, circumstances, such as possible negative school/work experiences, bullying, domestic violence, weapon uses and possession, etc. (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). One of the psychological problems that may lead someone to kill is poor anger management. Research has shown that those who can control their anger and frustration are less likely to commit events involving hurting others. Cognitive control is the key to a well-functioning life, because in life, there are too many things that can expose one to violence, for instance, watching a violent movie, playing violent games, listening to violent rhetoric, etc. (Piquero, MacDonald, Dobrin, Daigle, & Cullen, 2005).

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Prevention of murder
Producing a spiritual approach in preventing punishment
Using legal system for punishment
Preventing future by using the following approach
Helping children in their studies
rehabilitating ex-offenders and inmates
Addressing different cultural violence
being able to differentiate between drug users and traffickers.

I personally do think that harsh punishments for crimes of murder do prevent some future crimes, and that these punishments show the deterrence effect. However, I think that besides harsh punishments, still some side assistance can be done while being punished (ex. Incarcerated, or waiting for being executed, etc.), because these punishments create the “no-hope” reality for these individuals (Streib, 1997). A spiritual/religious approach may be a good method of helping them seek inner peace, and eventually learn things that are morally right and wrong. To combat these problems, a lot can be done, including: admitting and addressing racism, funding successful programs, providing strong positive role models, improving economic opportunity, improving the relationship between law enforcement and the community, addressing the culture of violence, differentiating drug traffickers from users, targeting domestic violence, helping children succeed in school, rehabilitating inmates and ex-offenders, etc. (Jacksonville Community Council, 2006). The alternatives focus more on prevention rather than punishment, just like prevention of a disease is better than merely treating the disease. Although these alternatives all require costs, I believe in the future, what we did would be rewarding, making our society a better place.

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Reference
Bartol, C., & Bartol, A. (2012). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Felony-Murder Rule, (2020). Law Library—American Law and Legal Information. Retrieved from https://law.jrank.org/pages/6835/Felony-Murder-Rule.html
Greenemeier, L. (2011). What causes someone to act on violent impulses and commit murder? Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/anger-management-self-control/
Halt.org, (2019). The bloody truth: understanding first degree murder. Halt.org Law Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.halt.org/understanding-first-degree-murder/
Hollander-Blumoff, R. (2012). Crime, punishment, and the psychology of self-control. Emory Law Journal, 61(3). Retrieved from https://law.emory.edu/elj/content/volume-61/issue-3/articles/crime-punishment-psychology-self-control.html
Jacksonville Community Council, (2006). Reducing murder: a community response. Retrieved from http://homicidecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/jcci_community_response.pdf
Keijsers, L., Loeber, R., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2012). Parent-child relationships of boys in different offending trajectories: a developmental perspective. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 53(12), 1222–1232. Retrieved from https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02585.x
Law Shelf, (2020). Model penal code’s mens rea. Retrieved from https://lawshelf.com/coursewarecontentview/model-penal-codes-mens-rea/
Madd, (2018). Penalties for drunk driving vehicular homicide. Retrieved from https://www.madd.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Vehicular-Homicide.pdf
Murphy Law Office, (2016). What’s the difference between homicide, murder, and manslaughter? Retrieved from https://murphylawoffice.org/john-murphy-law-office-blog/77-what-s-the-difference-between-homicide-murder-and-manslaughter.html
Murphy, C., & Vess, J. (2003). Subtypes of psychopathy: proposed differences between narcissistic, borderline, sadistic, and antisocial psychopaths. Psychiatric Quarterly, 74(1), 11—29. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12602785
Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, (2010). Psychological theories. Review of the Roots of Youth Violence: Literature Reviews, 5(2). Retrieved from http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/oyap/roots/volume5/chapter02_psychological_theories.aspx
Piquero, A. R., MacDonald, J., Dobrin, A., Daigle, L. E., & Cullen, F. T. (2005). Self-control, violent offending, and homicide victimization: assessing the general theory of crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 21(1) 55-71. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/23367498?seq=1
Streib, V. L. (1997). The efficacy of harsh punishments for teenage violence. Symposium on Juvenile Crime: Policy Proposals on Guns & Violence, Gangs, & Drugs, 31(2) 427-434. Retrieved from https://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1858&context=vulr
The Legal Environment of the Coroner’s Work, (n.d.). The Law of Homicide. Retrieved from https://www.in.gov/ctb/files/appendix1.pdf

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Murder

INTRODUCTION
Homicide
Non-negligent manslaughter. One that has no intentions of causing death
Murder. One that has intentions
First degree murder
Second degree murder

Homicide, defined by the Murphy Law Office, is the killing of one person by another
(Murphy Law Office, 2016). Homicide can happen in all types of situations, such as in war,
at a medical setting, or even in an accident. Basically, homicide can have the aspect of
afterthought or be without. Those with afterthought are considered as murder. This as
such can be categorized into first-degree murder and second-degree murder (Bartol, &
Bartol, 2012). which will be elaborated in later slides. Those without malice aforethought
are categorized as non-negligent manslaughter, which means that the person has no
intention to kill but still resulted in the death of another person (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). It
may seem like murder cases occur fairly often due to this subject being spread and used
in the vast entertainment media, however, among all the violent crimes, only 1 percent of
the crimes are murder crimes. In this presentation, we will be focusing on murder crimes.

2

FIRST-DEGREE MURDER

The goal of this is to kill
It is unlaw
it is deliberate

One of the categories of the murder cases is called first-degree murder. This type of
murder can be referred to as the illegal act of taking someone’s life with malice
afterthought whether it is implied or expressed. Malice aforethought is defined as aspect
of planning the crime ahead of time (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). In order to be qualified as a
first-degree murder, this killing must meet three criteria. These three criteria include
intent, deliberation, and premeditation (Halt.org, 2019). All three criteria have to be met.
Intent makes sure the goal is to kill; someone must die. However, killing the wrong
person while intending to kill another person also meets the standard of “intent”
criterion. The second and third criteria go together, meaning that the killing is planned.
Even if the person pauses to think about his action, and still eventually goes ahead and
kills the other person, this is also considered as a first-degree murder (Halt.org, 2019).
3

SECOND DEGREE MURDER
It is not premeditated
The pass has intentions to kill
The punishment in this case is less severe unlike the 1st degree murder
They do not care about human life when conducting such occurrences

Another category of murder cases is called the second-degree murder. It is important to
distinguish the differences between the two types of murder. Like first degree murder,
the act of killing should have an intention, a thought that drives the killing. However,
different from the first-degree murders, second degree murders are not premediated,
meaning that the murder is not planned ahead of time. Situations when a person acts

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recklessly and obviously shows the lack of concern for human life, which eventually
results in the death of another person, satisfies as a second-degree murder. The
punishment for second degree murder would usually be less severe than that of the first-
degree murder. The distinctions between the two types have gradually been vague in
recent years (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012). Eventually, it is up to the judge’s decision to
announce the sentence. Therefore, there must be considerably enough proof by the law’s
standard that the person is guilty of a second-degree murder.

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ABANDONED HEART
It happens as a result of carelessness
It does not consider any moral standards
Thy do not intend to harm or kill
the reckless behavior associated with this contributes to death
The rocks thrown ends up killing people

The definition of an abandoned heart or a malignant heart is the intention of performing
a reckless or negligent act with disregard for the probability that it may cost another
human being their life or can the intent to kill. An abandoned heart is an unusual situation.
Usually, people act carefully. People who have knowledge of what is dangerous and what
is not, rarely act carelessly. Yet, people who basically disregard the importance of human
life, act with extreme carelessness. The reckless behavior eventually becomes the direct
harm and cause of death of another individual or individuals. Individuals without moral
standards are more likely to commit this type of murder. An example would be throwing a
rock off the building, causing the person to get hit and die.

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BODILY HARM
The first case is assault with an intention of causing injury to other people
the worst thing is assault
It will also result to assault where the intention is inflict pain through the use of
instruments such as a knife.
In the event of death, it is stated to be murder.

The mens rea to cause bodily harm, which may result in the death of the victim is the
most serious manner of assault on a person. Such physical attack can be defined as
assault, which is distinctively related to the intentional damage of a person’s physical
form or the attempt thereof of (Bartol, 2012). This definition is accepted by most
jurisdictions in the U.S. An assault turns into an aggravated assault when the bodily injury
is too serious, sometimes resulting in death. This type of assault, or rather aggravated
assault, is at times associated with the use of harmful instruments such as blunt objects,
stabbing or piercing objects such as knives and machetes or even firearms. The exception
to this rule only exists for fists as they are only perceived harmful or “dangerous” when
the one being hit is seriously injured, or dead. In this scenario, the person who hits the
victim is responsible and may be charged with an aggravated assault or murder, in the
case of a dead victim (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012).

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FELONY MURDER RULE
It came from England referred to as the common law
It is kind of a doctrine
It causes death among victims
There is no case of double charging

A felony murder rule is basically a rule or a doctrine that gives the prosecutor some
guidelines in the prosecution of a felon. This doctrine first originated from the Common
Law in England, stating that any actions that cause a death, regardless of who caused it,
is responsible for murder. This rule is strict and did not accommodate for reasonable
circumstances. For example, a police officer killed a robber who was trying to kill the
hostage. This police officer would be charged with murder back then according to the law
in England. Nowadays, reasonable circumstances are taken into account and in some
situations, causing one’s death may possibly not be held responsible. The felony murder
rule specifies that the killing/death must be the consequence of the felony. Basically, this
victim dies during the occurrence of the felony. When the crime fits the felony murder
rule, there is no need to prove the intention to kill during the prosecution. Since the
elements of felony overlaps with murder in this case, the perpetrator would not be
double charged with both the felony and murder; he would only be charged with murder
(Felony-Murder Rule, 2020).

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VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER
Its intention is to kill
It is termed to be crime with passion
termed to be different from the second degree murder
A person who is mentally disturbed

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Voluntary manslaughter is also known as the crime of passion. This type of killing is an
intentional killing however, it happens under the circumstances when the perpetrator is
emotionally or mentally disturbed or unstable. The emotion can be provoked. This person
does not have prior intent to kill, but because of his disturbed mental state, he accidently
killed the person who he was not intending to kill. The key tenets of voluntary
manslaughter are almost similar to those of second degree murder. However, there is still
a key distinction, and that is the different circumstances and mental state during the
occurrence of the crime. For instance, a bar fight that lead to accidently killing someone
is a form of second degree murder. However, if the same bar fight that results in death
happens because the perpetrator finds out his wife is unfaithful with someone inside the
bar, then this is a form of voluntary manslaughter (Murphy Law Office, 2016).

8

INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER
It is stated to be a negligent act
The intention is to kills
It can be as a result of drunk drinking
Their intentions are not meant to kills

On the other hand, there is involuntary manslaughter. First, the person who commits an
involuntary manslaughter does not have the intention to kill. He does not have the
intention to cause death to other people. However, his intentional negligent act results in
someone’s death (Murphy Law Office, 2016). For instance, drunk driving is a good
illustration of involuntary manslaughter if someone dies in this incident. The person
“intentionally” to drive knowing that he is drunk, and because of the slowed brain
function caused by alcohol, he “unintentionally” runs the red light and kills a pedestrian
who is crossing the street on a green light for his direction. This is similar to a motor
vehicle accident which results in death. In the same example but this time the driver is
not drunk at all; he is rushing to the hospital because his wife is in labor. He runs the red
light and kills a pedestrian. This is still a form of involuntary manslaughter. He has no
intention at all to kill the pedestrian in both examples but because of his negligent act,
he will be held responsible for it (Madd, 2018).
9

MENTAL STATES OF MURDER
Prosecution
Mental state
it can happen as a result of recklessness, purpose and negligence

For the prosecutor to prosecute a crime, the suspect/perpetrator must have the required
mental state during the offense. Or else, he could use the insanity defense to plea
nonguilty. The term for the mental state is called the mens rea, which means the guilty
mind. For murder, the most important mental element is the malice aforethought (Law
Shelf, 2020). On top of that, there are other required mental states for murder, including
knowledge, and recklessness. Knowledge refers to a person who knows and is aware of
his actions bringing serious consequences. Recklessness refers to the awareness of a
substantial risk resulting in specific actions. The difference between knowledge and
recklessness is that the previous, the certain result following his actions is known while
the latter, no specific result is known, only the presence of a substantial risk is known
(Law Shelf, 2020). Although negligence is one of the levels of mens rea, it will not be
discussed in this slide because it is not a required mental state of murder but that of
manslaughter.

10

PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL THEORIES THAT EXPLAIN MURDER
Anger and violence management
Psychopathy theory
Cognitive theory
Psychodynamic theory
Attachment theory
Behavioral theory

There are different causes and reasons behind why people choose to commit criminal
acts, especially a felony like murder. The main problem in a lot of research pointed out
that violence, aggression, and anger control are closely related to criminal conducts
(Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). It is important for
psychologists to focus on the mental process of these criminals. Most research has
associated these violent acts with different aspects such as learning, personality,
intelligence, and aggressive behaviors (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and
Social Services, 2010). The theories that we will be talking about in regard to the
explanation of the murder act are cognitive theory, attachment theory, psychodynamic
theory, behavioral theory, personality theory, as well as psychopathy theory. There are
also biological factors as well as other factors that influence aggressive behaviors, but in
the future slides, we will focus mainly on psychological theories.

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COGNITIVE THEORY
Kohlberg—moral development
6 stages
Moral development becomes more advanced as one ages
Failure in development  aggression and violent behaviors
Piaget—reasoning abilities
Receives stimuli and learn the response
Failure  learn the wrong behavior!

The first psychological theories that may explain the act of murder is the cognitive
theory. Kohlberg focuses on the moral development theory. He analyzed that there are six
stages of moral development. As a normal person ages, the moral development should
become more and more advanced. When he understands moral standards, he is more
likely to express acts of generosity and love. However, on the other spectrum, when a
person’s moral processing fails to develop, he would express low moral reasoning,
possibly contributing to the violent acts and serious crime commission (Ontario Ministry
of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). Another psychologist, Piaget, also
explains violent acts through the cognitive perspective. Piaget suggested that as a
person develops, he receives and responds to environmental stimuli, process information,
and develops reasoning and abstract thoughts, and these factors affects the reasoning
abilities. When these abilities fail to properly develop, one is more likely to learn the
wrong way of behaving and processing emotions (Ontario Ministry of Children,
Community and Social Services, 2010).

12

ATTACHMENT THEORY
Primary caregiver vs infant/children
Related to future development
Failure  affects personality and social life
4 main types
Secure—best, affective bonds doesn’t decline
Anxious—result in unbalanced relationship
Dismissive—result in unbalanced relationship
Fearful—result in unbalanced relationship

The attachment theory is also relevant to the act of murder. In fact, a lot of criminals who
committed serious murder cases have not properly developed an attachment to their
primary caregiver. Attachment styles are associated with crimes (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012).
In normal cases, parental involvement in children’s lives decline as the children ages into
adolescence and then adulthood. Yet, the affective bonding does not decline as time
passes (Keijsers, Loeber, Branje, & Meeus, 2012). The attachment theory mainly focuses
on the primary caregiver as infants and children are the one reacting to the attachment
provided. There are four major types of categories of attatchement styles which are
secure, dismissive, anxious and fearful. The ideal caregiver and child relationship is
balanced between the two rather than one being really dependent on the other. Long-
term neglect causes the attachment to be poorly developed affecting later personality
development or social life and bonding with peers (Keigsers, et al., 2012).

13

PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY
Sigmund Freud
Violence is unconscious
Early childhood experiences is crucial!
Normal: Aggression = basic human impulse
Unnormal: Aggression leaks out of unconscious  violence! (aka displaced violence)

The psychodynamic theory is presented by Sigmund Freud. Freud contributes profoundly
in the scope of psychodynamic with his main focus being the “unconscious”. Freud
believed that violence is an unconscious element in the human brain. When a person
develops normally and experiences a normal childhood, this unconscious element
remains as the basic human impulse, just like a basic biological function in human beings.
However, when an individual does not have a normal childhood, then this is when things
become dangerous. Childhood experience is crucial in one’s early development. This can
be evident in some of the theories mentioned. The aggression impulse is not controlled
and over expressed to a certain degree, the aggression leaks out causing the individual
to become dangerous and engage in violent acts. Freud termed this phenomenon as the
displaced aggression (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services,
2010). Displaced aggression may eventually lead to killing a person, whether
intentionally or unintentionally.

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BEHAVIORAL THEORY
Behavior is learned!

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Social interactions with the environment
Violence is not innate
Repeated exposure to violence
4 factors that help produce violence
Stressful even/stimulus triggered
Aggressive skills observed
Aggression will be socially rewarded when reduced (ex. Providing material goods when
not throwing a tamper tantrum)
Certain violent incidents are condoned in the society

The behavioral theory has been associated with the violent behavior for years.
Behavioral theory in psychology refers to that all behaviors are learned through
interactions with the surroundings. Behavioralists believed that behaviors are not born
but learned. Therefore, applying this theory to the violent behavior, proponents of
behavioral theory believed that violence in human beings is learned though the social
interactions with the environment. More importantly, these violent behaviors are
probably repeatedly exposed. Another important concept in the behavioral theory is the
punishment and reinforcement technique for behavior formation. That is, punishing the
negative behaviors and rewarding the positive behaviors, can help shape one’s behavior.
There are four factors that help produce the violent behaviors: triggering emotional
arousal by a stressful stimulus, observing and learning aggressive skills through daily
lives, rewarding the reduction of violent behaviors with goods and praise (when one
wants a certain present, he turns on the learned violent behavior and reduces it to get
what he wants), and condoning certain violent acts in the society in certain circumstances
(Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). These factors
enhance the violent behaviors in an individual and if not corrected, they can be used for
violence and to act violently.

15

PERSONALITY THOERY
Personality = stable patterns and characteristics that distinguish one from another.
Certain personality types are prone to crime commission
Characteristics associated with violence
Hostility, egoism, self-centeredness, spitefulness, jealousy, defiance, extroversion,
narcissism, suspicion, etc.
Lack empathy, ambition, perseverance, difficulty controlling their tempers and impulses
Antisocial personality disorder (elaborated in the next slide)
Different subtypes

Another popular theory that has been connected with violent behaviors is the personality
theory. Personality is defined as a stable patter and characteristics (behaviors, actions,
and thoughts) that can distinguish one person from another (Ontario Ministry of Children,
Community and Social Services, 2010). Basically, everyone’s personality is different.
However, researchers found that certain types of behaviors are more prone to violent
acts and criminal commission. They listed the common characteristics that are associated
with violence are hostility, egoism, self-centeredness spitefulness, jealousy, (Ontario
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). These characteristics are also
relevant to the lack of empathy, perseverance, and difficulty controlling their tempers
and impulses. Therefore, a common type of personality disorder—antisocial personality
disorder is greatly connected with crime and violence. There are different subtypes of
antisocial personality disorder, including narcissistic, sadistic, borderline, and antisocial
types (Murphy, & Vess, 2003). These subtypes cover the aforementioned characteristics
and constitute subtypes of psychopathy, which has the possibility to develop into
psychopaths.

16

PSYCHOPATHY THOERY
Justification of violent acts
It cab biological
it is linked with personality theory
It has got different defects, antisocial personality disorder and sociopathy
Remorseful
Impulsive and gets to violate rights

In the previous slide, we talked about the personality theory. The psychopathy theory is
closely related to the personality theory. In the personality theory, we mentioned that
certain characteristics in the personality involves unable to control tempers and
impulses. This could be due to biological factors. Therefore, certain symptoms may be
treated with medical innervations. Those characteristics defects the personality and
therefore personality disorders exist, such as psychopathy, sociopaths, and ani-social
personality disorders (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services,
2010). People with these disorders usually are very impulsive, show low or no level of
guilt while and after committing crimes and violent acts. Often times, they violate rights
of others (Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 2010). Because of
their personality disorders, they basically cannot feel anxiety or remorse. It is common
that these individuals, when being prosecuted, uses the insanity defense to justify their

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actions, indicating that they are not in the “right mental state” during the crime
commission. Are their actions justified due to their insanity? I think this is subject to
debate.

17

FACTORS BEHIND
Serial killers are easier to analyze and prevent
One-time killers are more difficult
Factors
Race/ethnicity
Gender
Age
Socioeconomic class
Past experiences
Domestic violence
Weapon use
Too many environmental exposure to violent behavior
Cognitive control is the key!!!

Serial killers are, in comparison, easier to predict, analyze and prevent, due to their
repeated crime commission with the same modus operandi. However, there are still a lot
of factors that influence murderers who only kill one time, mostly related to how they
grew up and their environment. These factors include race and ethnicity, gender, age,
socioeconomic class, circumstances, such as possible negative school/work experiences,
bullying, domestic violence, weapon uses and possession, etc. (Bartol, & Bartol, 2012).
One of the psychological problems that may lead someone to kill is poor anger
management. Research has shown that those who can control their anger and frustration
are less likely to commit events involving hurting others. Cognitive control is the key to a
well-functioning life, because in life, there are too many things that can expose one to
violence, for instance, watching a violent movie, playing violent games, listening to
violent rhetoric, etc. (Piquero, MacDonald, Dobrin, Daigle, & Cullen, 2005).

18

PREVENTION OF MURDER
Producing a spiritual approach in preventing punishment
Using legal system for punishment
Preventing future by using the following approach
Helping children in their studies
rehabilitating ex-offenders and inmates
Addressing different cultural violence
being able to differentiate between drug users and traffickers.

I personally do think that harsh punishments for crimes of murder do prevent some future
crimes, and that these punishments show the deterrence effect. However, I think that
besides harsh punishments, still some side assistance can be done while being punished
(ex. Incarcerated, or waiting for being executed, etc.), because these punishments create
the “no-hope” reality for these individuals (Streib, 1997). A spiritual/religious approach
may be a good method of helping them seek inner peace, and eventually learn things
that are morally right and wrong. To combat these problems, a lot can be done, including:
admitting and addressing racism, funding successful programs, providing strong positive
role models, improving economic opportunity, improving the relationship between law
enforcement and the community, addressing the culture of violence, differentiating drug
traffickers from users, targeting domestic violence, helping children succeed in school,
rehabilitating inmates and ex-offenders, etc. (Jacksonville Community Council, 2006). The
alternatives focus more on prevention rather than punishment, just like prevention of a
disease is better than merely treating the disease. Although these alternatives all require
costs, I believe in the future, what we did would be rewarding, making our society a
better place.

19

Reference
Bartol, C., & Bartol, A. (2012). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (10th ed.).
Boston, MA: Pearson.
Felony-Murder Rule, (2020). Law Library—American Law and Legal Information. Retrieved
from https://law.jrank.org/pages/6835/Felony-Murder-Rule.html
Greenemeier, L. (2011). What causes someone to act on violent impulses and commit
murder? Scientific American. Retrieved from
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/anger-management-self-control/
Halt.org, (2019). The bloody truth: understanding first degree murder. Halt.org Law
Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.halt.org/understanding-first-degree-murder/
Hollander-Blumoff, R. (2012). Crime, punishment, and the psychology of self-
control. Emory Law Journal, 61(3). Retrieved from
https://law.emory.edu/elj/content/volume-61/issue-3/articles/crime-punishment-
psychology-self-control.html

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