Second-degree murder penalties in Missouri

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Second-degree murder is a very serious crime in Missouri. If you are charged, the rest of your life hangs on the outcome of your case. To clearly understand the severity, let’s look at the potential penalties of murder in the second degree.

What constitutes second-degree murder in Missouri?

Let’s say you get into a fight with a person, and you end up causing him or her an injury that eventually leads to his or her death. In this case, you have committed second-degree murder. It is clear that you had no plan or desire to kill that person, but somehow, he or she ended up dead due to your actions. Besides, Missouri courts expect you to know that getting into a fight with a person can eventually lead to his or her death.

Another instance of second-degree murder is when committing violent crimes, like theft, and in that event or while fleeing, you end up killing a person. In simple terms, killing someone while committing a crime.

In both cases, you can see that you didn’t plan to end the life of that person. Rather, he or she died as a result of something else you were doing that you probably should have known could have fatal consequences.

Penalties for second-degree murder

Second-degree murder is a Class A felony in Missouri, meaning it is the highest level of felony in the state. Depending on the case’s circumstance, you can end up serving a life sentence in prison without parole.

If lucky, you can spend only 10 years or even three decades behind bars. However, if you were committing another crime when the second-degree murder occurred, your time could be prolonged by the punishment of the initial crime.

It is important to note that second-degree murder can turn to voluntary manslaughter under Statute S 565.023 if the court finds that your actions were influenced by sudden passion (acting in the heat of the moment). You can end up spending 5 to 15 years in prison with this charge.