Homicide in South Carolina is criminally punishable whether the killing was done with intent, without intent or accidentally. If you have been arrested for one of these crimes, it is essential to hire a proven and skilled criminal defense attorney like H. Chase Harbin. This article discusses murder, manslaughter, and attempted murder.
Crime in Greenville, SC — What Is Murder?
Under South Carolina law, murder is defined as “… the killing of any person with malice aforethought, either express or implied.” See S.Car. Code § 16-3-10. In regular terminology, that means killing done with intent. The intent — or malice — may be express in the sense that the accused says something like “I hate you and am going to kill you.” Or the intent/malice may be implied from various actions including the killer’s use of a deadly weapon. See State v. Campbell, 339 S.E.2d 109 (S. Car. Supreme Court 1985). Without intent, there can be no murder conviction (although there might be a manslaughter conviction — see below). See State v. Fennell, 531 S.E.2d 512 (S. Car. Supreme Court 2000) (intent and malice properly implied by the use of gasoline and fire to kill the victim).
The punishment for murder is the death penalty or at least 30 years to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Crime in Greenville, SC — What Is Manslaughter?
Manslaughter is murder but without the intent and the punishment is imprisonment for two to thirty years. Specifically, the statute says: “A person convicted of manslaughter, or the unlawful killing of another without malice, express or implied, must be imprisoned not more than 30 years or less than two years.” See S.Car. Code § 16-3-50 (see link above).
Crime in Greenville, SC — What Is Attempted Murder?
As the name implies, attempted murder is an attempt — but unsuccessful — to kill someone with intent/malice. The statutes state: “A person who, with intent to kill, attempts to kill another person with malice aforethought, either expressed or implied, commits the offense of attempted murder.” See S.Car. Code § 16-3-29. Note that the intended victim does not actually have to be injured for you to be convicted of attempted murder. State v. Middleton, 755 S.E.2d 432 (S. Car. Supreme Court 2014) (it was proper to convict defendant of attempted murder where he deliberately drove up to the passenger window and shot into another vehicle at least five times even though no one was hit by the bullets).
The punishment is imprisonment for two to 30 years without eligibility for probation or suspended sentence.
Although the injury is not an element of attempted murder, if the intended victim IS injured, that is a separate crime. Under those circumstances, the accused will likely be charged with additional lesser and related offenses such as assault and battery in the first degree, weapons possession, etc. If the victim later dies of his or her wounds, then the attempted murder will be converted to a murder charge. However, the after-the-fact death must occur as a result of the injuries sustained during the attempted murder and must occur within three years of the attempt. See S. Car. Code, § 16-3-5.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense — Call The Law Office Of H. Chase Harbin Today
For more information, contact the proven criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. Contact our office today via email or by telephone. We have offices in Greenville and Pickens, South Carolina.