What Is Felony Murder?

 Posted on July 05,2024 in Felonies & Misdemeanors

IL defense lawyerThe simplest explanation of Illinois’s felony murder law is that anyone who was involved in committing a felony that led to a death can be charged with murder, even if they had nothing to do with the killing. Simply having been a part of a "forcible" felony in any way is enough to get you convicted of felony murder if someone dies as a result of the crime. This law can be problematic, as it allows people who never intended to hurt anyone to go to prison for murder. If you have been charged with murder in connection with a forcible felony, you need an experienced Cook County, IL violent crimes attorney to defend you.

A Recent Example of How You Can Be Convicted of a Murder You Did Not Commit

In one recent case, a woman was not even there when her co-defendants fatally stabbed a man during a home invasion. Yet, she was just convicted of his murder based on the fact that she helped the person who stabbed the victim plan the burglary. She happened to know that the man killed had an illegal amount of marijuana and a lot of cash in his house and suggested him as a target to her co-conspirators.

Her two acquaintances broke into the home. She did not. There is no evidence that she had reason to believe her co-conspirators would hurt anyone during the burglary. However, a home invasion is considered an inherently dangerous crime that anyone involved should know could turn fatal. This is the rationale that got the woman convicted of a murder she was not present for.

Felony Murder Explained 

The idea behind Illinois’s felony murder laws is that some types of crimes are so dangerous that those committing them should know that there is a considerable risk that their crime will lead to someone’s death. Forcible offenses like armed robbery, burglary, and kidnapping can set off a chain of events that leads to a fatality even if the offenders never meant to hurt anyone.

Felony murder laws include deaths that occur during the commission of a dangerous offense and deaths that occur while fleeing. The person or people committing the crime do not even have to have directly caused the death, nor does the killing need to be intentional. For example, if someone who has just robbed a bank accidentally runs over a pedestrian while fleeing the scene, that would be felony murder. Or, if two people are robbing a convenience store and a bystander shoots and kills one of them, the other robber could be liable for felony murder.

Contact a Rolling Meadows, IL Felony Murder Attorney

Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law is committed to providing the best criminal defense services possible. Experienced Cook County, IL violent crimes lawyer Scott Anderson will personally handle your case strategically and aggressively. Contact us at 847-253-3400 for a complimentary consultation.

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