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NY Penal Law § 125.25: Murder in the Second Degree

July 1, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

In the event that you intentionally or recklessly bring about the death of another individual, you could be up against a homicide charge. There are a number of different offenses in the New York criminal code that are related to taking the life of another individual.  These include homicide, manslaughter and murder. Of all of the criminal offenses related to homicide, the most serious of them are murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and aggravated murder. Each of these is categorized as a class A-I felony.  What that means to you is that if you are convicted of one of these crimes, you could be sentenced to life in prison.  You could be prosecuted for murder in the second degree under New York Penal Law § 125.25 if you:

  1. Intentionally brought about the death of another person,
  2. Recklessly brought about the death of another person under the conditions that demonstrated that you possessed a depraved indifference for human life,
  3. Brought about the death of another individual in the course of the commission of another crime such as robbery, burglary, arson, or sexual assault, or
  4. Brought about the death of another person younger than 11 years of age during the commission of a sex crime such as rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree or incest in the first degree.

An Example

A twenty year old man named Donovan has sexual intercourse with his 9 year old cousin, Misty. After warning her to not tell anyone about what happened, Misty begins to scream really loud and she tries to run away from him. Donovan grabs her and slaps her hard across the face. As a result, Misty falls and hits her head on the corner of a table. A couple of days later, Misty dies in the hospital from the head injury she sustained. Donovan could face prosecuted for murder in the second degree, because he brought about the death of a 9 year old during the commission of the crime of rape.

Offenses that are Related

Murder in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 125.25

Aggravated murder: New York Penal Law § 125.26

Possible Defenses

Self-defense is a key defense strategy against a charge of murder in the second degree. If you can somehow demonstrate that the killing was the result of a reasonable use of force to defend yourself against a plausible fear that your own life was in peril, then you could very well have a defense against a murder in the second degree charge.

The Sentence

Akin to aggravated murder and murder in the first degree, murder in the first degree is one of the few offenses in the New York criminal code that is a class A-I felony. If you are convicted of this crime, you could spend the rest of your life behind bars. The minimum sentence you would serve would be 15-40 years.

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