What Is Manslaughter?
Manslaughter involves the killing of a human in which the perpetrator did not have the intent to kill or harm their victim. Manslaughter is separated into two categories, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Those who are charged with manslaughter usually face a lesser punishment than murder, which happens to be 3rd-degree murder.
What Is The Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?
Murder is the act of taking a human life with malice aforethought (the intent to kill or harm). So, the major difference is whether or not the perpetrator had the intent to kill their victim. In some scenarios, it can be hard to determine if someone should be charged with murder or manslaughter. For example, if someone kills another accidentally, they could face charges of involuntary manslaughter or second-degree murder. The final decision depends on the carelessness, negligence, and recklessness of the criminal.
Different Types of Manslaughter
- Voluntary Manslaughter:
Voluntary manslaughter is often referred to as a “heat of passion” crime. It’s when someone is provoked (like a normal person would be) and the killing occurs due to that provocation. For example, a wife is provoked to kill her husband after catching him in the act with another woman.
- Involuntary Manslaughter:
Involuntary manslaughter is unintentional criminally negligent homicide. Meaning, someone acts in a reckless or dangerous manner that results in the death of another. For example, a person driving under the influence causing a car crash and the death of the other driver. It could also occur when someone gets into a fight in public and does so to the point of unintentionally killing them.
Famous Manslaughter Cases
In 2009, the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest due to propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murphy was charged and found guilty for committing involuntary manslaughter. Murphy had provided Jackson with the anesthetic that was a factor contributing to his death.
In 2017, Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of her boyfriend Conrad Roy III. Over text message, Carter urged Roy to commit suicide and didn’t notify his family or local law enforcement when she realized he had killed himself. The only thing she texted to help him was to tell him to get out of the truck where Roy committed suicide by poisoning himself.
View our other Glossary Terms here.
*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.