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Thread: Is This Murder?

  1. #1
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    Default Is This Murder?

    Over the weekend an 8 year old child was killed in a house fire two parishes to our south. The fire occured a little after 11pm. The mother was not home at the time. She was out at a nightclub with a friend. The original story she told police was that she had left the house about 9 expecting the babysitter to arrive shortly thereafter. The day after the incident the police found out she had never scheduled a babysitter.

    She is now being charged with murder by the district attorney.

    In your opinion, does this event deserve a murder charge? If not, what charge, if any? Would it qualify as manslaughter?


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    Forum Member Steeda83's Avatar
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    it all depends on what the definition of murder is in your state..and since thats Louisiana im sure it's an interesting one(no offense) but you're state seems to be a little "different" compared to the rest of the country

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steeda83
    it all depends on what the definition of murder is in your state..and since thats Louisiana im sure it's an interesting one(no offense) but you're state seems to be a little "different" compared to the rest of the country
    I'm no prosecutor, but I did watch a "Law and Order" marathon on the USA network while staying at a Holiday Inn Express once...

    I don't think it can be called murder. I am thinking more like involuntary manslaughter.
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    Forum Member bjlffire's Avatar
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    What started the fire? Accident or arson?
    Murder either way.

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    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
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    I hope she's convicted!
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    I'd say Manslaughter, and child negect. Unless the fire was caused by the child, and would never have happened if the child was being watched by an adult, then maybe murder would apply.

    I think that's right.
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    Here in NYS, the charges would start at endangering the welfare of a child and manslaughter in the 2nd degree. If she lied in the police report stating that she hired a babysitter and it was prooven that she did not, an additional charge would be given. Keep us up to date with this case. I am very interested in what she is charged with, and then what she is actually sentenced for.
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    At this point the cause is listed as undetermined.

    Several strong storms moved through the area and a lightening strike is the suspected cause.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    In any case, I have to agree with the Capt. Manslaughter is about as good as it can get I think. Murder requires a very large volume of criteria to be met, whereas I think manslaughter is a bit more open to interpretation, and includes accidental death - in most areas.

    In any case the minimal charge should be child abandonment and endangerment.

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    IANAL, but I believe the biggest distiction between murder and manslaughter is premeditation. If the "Mother" (and I use that term VERY loosely) did not leave the house knowing/expecting the fire to take place it probably isn't murder. As said above, probably 1st/2nd degree manslaughter, child endangerment, falsifying a police report, and being an ig'nant baby-mommy. Either way she deserved far worse then she'll probably get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9
    IANAL, but I believe the biggest distiction between murder and manslaughter is premeditation.
    I am no lawyer either, but I am pretty sure (don't even feel I would have to phone a friend on this one) that premeditation comes into play not in the murder vs manslaughter decision. It actually is used in the sentencing phase of a trial. Murder vs manslaughter decisions are based on a number of criteria, one of which is intent. This, I believe is going to be the deal breaker in this case and she will se MS1, w/negligence and/or child abandonment/endangerment tacked on. Either way, knowing ONLY what we know here, they won't be going to easy on this "mother".

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    Quote Originally Posted by RESERVEFORNOW
    I am no lawyer either, but I am pretty sure (don't even feel I would have to phone a friend on this one) that premeditation comes into play not in the murder vs manslaughter decision.
    From Wikipedia
    "The law generally differentiates between levels of criminal culpability based on the mens rea, or state of mind. This is particularly true within the law of homicide, where murder requires either the intent to kill, or a state of mind called malice, or malice aforethought, which may involve an unintentional killing but with a willful disregard for life"

    they won't be going to easy on this "mother".
    Agreed. The only time I want the term "Mother" applied to this person is when its followed by.. another word.

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    Well, I might as well play lawyer as well. I believe that premeditation comes into play when going between murder 1 or 2. I think that the difference between murder and manslaughter is motive or accidential. When you have a reason to kill (motive) that is inline with murder. When you have a reason and plan it out- murder 1, when you act spontainiously with out meditation murder 2. In cases such as an accident, it leans more to manslaughter. There is also roles that come into play with aggrevated man and regualr manslughter. I believe that falls into wether the act was commited with malice. In a lot of states now, an incident that happend while a person was under the influence is considered agg. man, while if the same act had happpened while the person was sober and truley is thought to be an accident it goes to reuglar mansluaghter. However laws are different every where so it could be different down in the south land. It will be interesting to see what she does get charged with in the end. If anyone has any more insight I would be interested to see, I do love me some law and order.

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    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Negligent Homicide
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    No lawyer and never even been to Louisiana but it just might be murder down there.

    From the Louisiana revised statutes as found at www.legis.state.la.us (emphasis added by me):

    ------------------

    §30.1. Second degree murder

    A. Second degree murder is the killing of a human being:
    (1) When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm; or
    (2)(a) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second degree cruelty to juveniles, or terrorism, even though he has no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.
    (b) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration of cruelty to juveniles, even though he has no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.
    (3) When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I or II of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law* which is the direct cause of the death of the recipient who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.
    (4) When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I or II of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law* to another who subsequently distributes or dispenses such controlled dangerous substance which is the direct cause of the death of the person who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.
    B. Whoever commits the crime of second degree murder shall be punished by life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.


    Cruelty to Juveniles is:


    §93. Cruelty to juveniles
    A. Cruelty to juveniles is:
    (1) The intentional or criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect by anyone seventeen years of age or older of any child under the age of seventeen whereby unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused to said child. Lack of knowledge of the child's age shall not be a defense; or
    (2) The intentional or criminally negligent exposure by anyone seventeen years of age or older of any child under the age of seventeen to a clandestine laboratory operation as defined by R.S. 40:983 in a situation where it is foreseeable that the child may be physically harmed. Lack of knowledge of the child's age shall not be a defense.
    B. The providing of treatment by a parent or tutor in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religious method of healing, in lieu of medical treatment, shall not for that reason alone be considered to be criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect of a child. The provisions of this Subsection shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this Section. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the provisions of R.S. 40:1299.36
    C. The trial judge shall have the authority to issue any necessary orders to protect the safety of the child during the pendency of the criminal action and beyond its conclusion.
    D. Whoever commits the crime of cruelty to juveniles shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than ten years, or both.


    It is repugnant that she not only left the child but then upon learning that her baby was dead, she lied to try to save her own rear. If the DA can convince a jury that leaving a 8 year old child alone while you go party is 'criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect' then he has the basis for a second degree murder charge.

    If the basic facts are as LA presented and I were in her place, I would be begging for the chance to plead to manslaughter rather than face a jury of parents.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Now that I've read a few more posts here, something comes to mind from an event totally unrelated (other than children being involved) of a few years ago.

    In another place, and another time there was a single mother with two small boys. One boy was about 9 or 10 at the time, and the other was about 5. She worked until around 430 or so, and was usually not home till close to 5pm. The bus bringing the boys home from school would drop them off at about 230 or so. Which means that for roughly 2 hours the boys were home alone.

    When this was questioned to the parent, the answer was "#$%k off and mind your own business." So a more professional answer was sought. When it came, the answer was something of a shock. From "Those Who Know" the official answer is: "If the parent(s) feels that the child(ren) is/are able to act in a responsible manner, he/she may be left unattended as early as age 8."

    Not wanting to be the fly in the ointment, but.............
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    Default Murder by Neglect

    A quick Yahoo search found incidents in which caregivers were charged with Murder by Neglect. One involved a child who's Insulin levels were not properly monitored. Another was a girl who lived in filthy conditions and suffered severe weight loss.

    I'm no lawyer, but this sounds like it may qualify for the case.

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    Murder by neglect does not exist in all jurisdictions. Not acquainted with the jurisdiction in question, so I cannot answer that one.

    Premeditation is required for ALL murder. Everyone thinks of premed as somebody sitting at the table with plans. That is a common misconception. Premed can exist if you think you will kill someone and then go ahead and do it. Could exist a second before the act or a year. It also could apply if it can be shown that someone should have known it would have the actual result. That is a court question, does leaving 8 y/o child at home mean you should have known that the house will burn down? Again, judge/jury question.

    The law as posted actually seems slightly vague, and as one pointed out, some believe an 8 y/o is safe on their own. It all depends upon how the court views it.

    If, however, mom is convicted of neglect, it could open the door to the murder charge, depending upon how that clause is viewed.

    Hope my opinion helps!

  19. #19
    firefighter7160
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    Default Arkansas

    In Arkansas she would be in Jail. She would be found guilty of Negligent Homicide, hands down. We had that same thing happen in are city 4 years ago. Lost 3 kids. I think the Mom and Dad got 5 years.


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    MembersZone Subscriber firedawg312's Avatar
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    i think it should be at least involuntary (just because she lied and said she had a baby sitter coming when she didnt even call one). along with crimnal neglegince, endangering the welfare of a child or something stiffer. hell if it were up to me all these parents who are complete dill holes and do stupid crap like this would be fixed and tattooed as a scumbag. who the hell would leave an 8 year old home alone for even a minute. even if this so called babysitter(which she didnt call) is right down the road. your kid is more important than going out with friends.

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