Felony murder charges in Rhode Island
Felony Murder occurs where a defendant kills someone during the commission of or attempted commission of certain enumerated felonies. Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Felony Murder is found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-23-1.
Legal elements of felony murder
In order to be convicted of Felony Murder, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant caused the death of another person;
- while committing or attempting to commit arson, sexual assault or child molestation, burglary or breaking or entering, robbery, kidnapping, felonious manufacture, sale, delivery or other distribution of a controlled substance, while resisting arrest or while under arrest of a police officer or while attempting to murder another.
No intent to kil required for felony murder
The law does not require that a defendant have the intent to kill in order to be found guilty of Felony Murder. Rather, the law of Felony Murder provides that if the death is caused during the commission or attempted commission of an enumerated felony, the defendant is guilty of Felony Murder.
A defendant may be guilty of this offense even if the killing was unintended or accidental. The law simply requires a causal connection between the death and the committed felony. If the felony was committed, and as a result of the felony, the death of another person occurred, the crime of Felony Murder is complete.
Bail for defendants charged with felony murder in Rhode Island
Because Felony Murder is a capital offense, just like First Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder, charged defendants may be held without bail at arraignment upon request of the prosecution. If this occurs, the defendant is entitled to a forward-looking evidentiary bail hearing. On the hearing date, the parties may negotiate terms and conditions of bail or the Court may either deny bail or order the defendant’s release on bail after hearing.
Potential punishment if convicted of felony murder in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island criminal law, a conviction for Felony Murder is capital felony offense that is punishable by up to life imprisonment. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-23-2.
If you have been charged with a Felony Murder offense and need experienced representation, contact the Rhode Island Murder Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.