The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

MURDER Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

The crime committed where a person of sound mind and discretion (that is, of sufficient age to form and execute a criminal design and not legally “insane”) kills any human creature in being (excluding quick but unborn children) and in the peace of the state or nation (including all persons except the military forces of the public enemy in time of war or battle) without any warrant, justification, or excuse in law, with malice aforethought, express or implied, that is, with a deliberate purpose or a design or determination distinctly formed in the mind before the commission of the act, provided that death results from the injury Inflicted within one year and a day after its infliction. See Kilpatrick v. Com., 31 Pa. 19S; Llotema v. U. S., 186 U. S. 413. 22 Sup. Ct 895, 46 L. Ed. 1225; Guiteau’s Case (D. C.) 10 Fed. 101; Clarke v. State. 117 Ala. 1, 23 South. 071, 67 Am. St. I top. 157; People v. Enoch, 13 Wend. (N. Y.) 167. 27 Am. Dec. 107; Kent v. People, 8 Colo. 5(13. 9 Pac. 852; Com. v. Webster, 5 Cush. (Mass.) 205. 52 Am. Dec. 711; Armstrong v. State. 30 Fla. 170. 11 South. 618. 17 L. R. A. 4S4; U. S. v. Lewis (C. C.) Ill Fed. 632; Nye v. People. 35 Mich. 16.

For the distinction between murder and manslaughter and other forms of homicide, see HOMICIDE; MANSLAUGHTER. Common-law definitions. The willful killing of any subject whatever, with malice aforethought, whether the person slain shall be an Englishman or a foreigner. Hawk. P. C. b. 1, c. 13.

See, e.g., What Are Crimes Against Humanity?


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.