Murder in the Second Degree or Voluntary Manslaughter: what is the difference?
- posted: Mar. 15, 2021
There are two primary differences between murder in the second degree and voluntary manslaughter. Those primary differences are the influence of sudden passion arising from adequate cause and the range of punishment available for each offense.
To be guilty of murder in the second degree, the defendant simply must have knowingly caused the death of another person, caused the death of another person with the purpose of causing serious physical injury to another person, or while committing or attempting to commit a felony, or in flight therefrom, another person is killed (commonly referred to as felony murder). However, if the defendant knowingly causes the death of another person or, with the purpose of causing serious physical injury to another person, causes the death of another person but in either case does so under the influence of sudden passion arising from adequate cause, then the defendant would be guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Sudden passion is defined as “passion directly caused by and arising out of provocation by the victim or another acting with the victim which passion arises at the time of the offense and is not solely the result of former provocation.” Adequate cause is defined as “cause that would reasonably produce a degree of passion in a person of ordinary temperament sufficient to substantially impair an ordinary person’s capacity for self-control.”
The punishment for murder in the second degree is imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years and not to exceed thirty years, or life imprisonment (with eligibility for probation or parole). For voluntary manslaughter, the punishment is imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not to exceed fifteen years.
If you, a family member, or friend has been accused of or charged with murder or manslaughter in Missouri, our legal team at Parker Law LLC is committed to helping you obtain the most favorable outcome possible. At Parker Law LLC, we believe in pursuing excellence with every client.