Definitions – Abandoned Heart Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter
Abandoned heart homicide also known as depraved heart murder refers to murder that happens as a result of a dangerous action and with proof that the perpetrator contains a depraved mind and has no respect for human life. It refers to a killing which results from a high level of negligence (Allen, 2004). For instance, when one is practicing shooting using live bullets in a place where people walk around or live and happens to shoot and kill a person accidentally. Abandoned heart homicide is regarded as a third or second degree murder. A second degree murder refers to murder conducted with no premeditation though with some intent, or under other situations not covered by the statute of the first-degree murder. Third degree murder refers to a murder conducted in a felony perpetration and not listed in the first degree murder.
Involuntary manslaughter on the other hand refers to an unintentional killing which results from criminal or reckless negligence, or from illegal act which is violation or low-level crime such as driving under the influence of alcohol. Involuntary man slaughter is satisfied by three elements. The first element is that a personwas killed due to defendant’s action; the second element is that the action was either done with careless human life disregard or integrally dangerous to others, while the third element is that the defendant should have known that her or his conduct was a threat to the life of others (Mitchhell& Mackay, 2011).
Differences Between Abandoned Heart Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter.
The main difference between involuntary manslaughter and abandoned heart murder is that in involuntary manslaughter the killing happens because the person involved was not in control of the situation. It mostly involve situation where one breaks light laws like many people do such as driving under the influence of alcohol, but in this unique case, the things the law was meant to prevent happen. Though illegal, the person involved did not plan to cause damages through the act. The killing was 100% accidental (Mitchhell & Mackay, 2011). However, in abandoned heart murder the offender was acting in a manner he or she was sure was dangerous and could possibly harm those in the surrounding, however, the person does not care but continue doing so.
In this case, the person involved has the control of the situation but prefer otherwise or taking risk. Though the killing is accidental just like in involuntary man slaughter, the offender in this case had computed about the possibility of the accident and decided to take risk. There is an aspect of criminal negligence in abandoned heart murder which is not there in the involuntary manslaughter. In most cases, offenders in involuntary manslaughter do not have intentions, and thus, the murder is believed not to be pre-computed. However, in abandoned heart murder, the offender is more likely to be using weapons and dealing to use it for adventure without caring of the consequences. The murder may as well lack concrete motive, but in most cases the offender is well aware that the misuse of the weapon or the move would easily cause death. Thus it has a high sense or recklessness (Allen, 2004).
Factors that a prosecutor would consider to determine whether to charge someone with abandoned heart homicide or involuntary manslaughter.
The factors to consider to classify an offence as involuntary murder presence of death that was directly caused by the suspect, lack of intention to kill, lack of pre-preparation or pre-computation before the act, presence of out of control situation, in case of accident related killing, suspect need to be under the influence of alcohol or drug while driving, and knowledge that the act is against the law and had a chance of creating damage and continue doing it (Stafford, 2002).
The factors to consider in abandonment heart murder case include a murdered person ad enough evidence to link the suspect with the murder, proof that the suspect was being involved in dangerous action that could cause murder during the time of murder, sense of recklessness, proof the suspect does not have respect for life, and proof that the murder could have been avoided if the suspected wanted to (Allen, 2004).