Murder First Degree

F.S. 782.04(1)(a) [Premeditated]

There are two ways in which a person can be convicted of first degree murder. One is known as premeditated murder and the other is known as felony murder. Before a person can be convicted of Murder in the First Degree, the State Attorney's Office must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The victim is dead, and

  2. The death was caused by the criminal act of the Defendant, and

  3. There was a premeditated killing of the victim.

1. A premeditated design is a killing after consciously deciding to do so. The decision must be present in the mind at the time of the killing. There is no set time frame that is required in order for an intent to kill to be formed.

2. Criminal Intent and Murder. The degree of the felony offense for a Murder charge depends on the facts and circumstances involved in each specific case. A Murder can be charged in various ways depending on how the State Attorney's Office interprets the evidence. Whether the State Attorney's Office believes that a Defendant acted with a premeditated design is central to a final charging decision.

3. Justifiable Homicide. The killing of a human being is justified and lawful if done because it was necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon the defendant, or to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which the defendant was at the time of the attempted killing.