What Aspects of a Case Determine Whether One Is Guilty of Murder Research Paper


Kentucky defines murder as “a capital offense” that occurs when a person “with intent to cause the death of another person” does so. Thus, accidental deaths may not be categorized as murder. Also, in this state, if a person kills someone “under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance” and there is a logical reason for the disturbance, the defendant shall not be charged with murder. Manslaughter, however, will likely be the charge. Murder also includes operating a vehicle with “extreme indifference to human life” that results in loss of life to another person (KY Statutes 507.020 Murder, 1984). This law has been on the books for more than 30 years and is still effective in the same modality as when it was enacted in 1984.

From the standpoint of the theory of victim precipitation, the victim himself may actually be an accessory in his own murder if he initiates (actively or passively) the action that leads to his death. Thus, in such a circumstance, the victim would provoke the attack that causes the other person to murder him. Obvious provocation would be active, while unconscious provocation (which would not hold the victim accountable) might include any situation in which a power struggle is in play — such as a job promotion, a love triangle, or something of that nature, where two individuals are vying for one position. In such cases, the crime of murder may be viewed also as a hate crime, which would constitute a separate charge, but does play a role in the categorization of the relationship between victim and murderer.

In Kentucky there is no special categorization of murder that depends upon the relationship of the two individuals involved, though there is a statute regarding hate crime and this may be filed as a separate charge alongside a murder charge. The hate crime statute in KY states that if a person commits an offense “because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals” then that action is a hate crime. Also, if it is found that the primary motive of the offense is hate, then that may be a factor in the severity of punishment, including denial of probation, etc. (KY Statutes 532.031 Hate Crimes — Finding — Effect, 2000).

Thus, murder in Kentucky is primarily based on whether there is intent to kill or extreme…