First-Degree Murder

There are two ways in which a person may be convicted of first-degree murder in Florida. One is known as premeditated murder and the other is known as felony murder.

Before a person can be convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, the prosecutor must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The victim is dead.
  2. The victim’s death was caused by the criminal act of the accused individual.
  3. The killing of the victim was premeditated.

Before a person can be convicted of first-degree felony murder, the prosecutor must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The victim is dead.
  2. a.  The victim’s death occurred as a consequence of and while the accused was engaged in the commission of a crime; or
    b.   The victim’s death occurred as a consequence of and while the accused was attempting to commit a crime; or
    c.   The victim’s death occurred as a consequence of and while the accused, or an accomplice, was escaping from the immediate scene of the crime.
  3. a.  The accused individual was the person who actually killed the victim; or
    b.   The victim was killed by a person other than the accused, but both the accused and the person who actually killed the victim were principals in the commission of the crime.

In order to convict someone of first-degree felony murder, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused had a premeditated design or intent to kill.