What is felony murder?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2020 | Firm News

There is a range of different murder charges and related charges that could come from the loss of a life. One unique charge for murder is felony murder, which may not be exactly what you think it is.

The Wisconsin State Legislature defines felony murder as the death of a person during the commission of a felony crime. This is a tricky charge because it has a couple of unique factors that make it different than other types of murder charges.

You do not have to kill anyone

Felony murder is a special situation where you do not have to be the person who takes the other person’s life. Simply being present during the commission of a crime in which someone dies is enough for the prosecutor to charge you with this crime. There is no requirement for a direct link between you and the victim other than your presence and participation in the underlying crime.

Proof in court

Another important point about this type of murder charge is that the only proof required in court is to show that you were engaging in conduct that was a factor in the death. If you were not in that place at that time doing what you were doing and the other person would not have died, then this shows your actions were a substantial factor in the death, and you could face felony murder charges.

Lack of intent

Unlike many other types of murder, felony murder does not require intent to kill or cause a death. Even if you never had the intention of anyone dying during your commission of the underlying crime, the fact that someone did die is enough for this charge.