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Ohio First-Degree Murder Laws

When a person kills someone, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is generally called a homicide. Let's explore the different categories of homicide in the Buckeye State.

Different Types of Murder in Ohio

In Ohio, there are two types of homicides other than manslaughter: aggravated murder and murder.

What Is Aggravated Murder?

Aggravated murder (also called first-degree murder) is the most serious type of homicide because it is planned and done on purpose with some type of evil intent. This type of murder is considered "aggravated" because of the type of victim involved.

Aggravated Murder Victims

In order for a case to qualify for capital punishment, the murder must involve "aggravating circumstances." The law provides specific circumstances which it considers "aggravating" that includes most often:

  • Purposely killing a law enforcement officer while he or she was engaged in official duties;
  • Killing someone or unlawfully terminating their pregnancy purposely and with malice aforethought;
  • Killing a woman or unlawfully terminating her pregnancy while committing, attempting to commit or fleeing after committing kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, terrorism, or escape;
  • Purposely killing a child under the age of 13 years old;
  • Purposely killing someone while in prison for another felony or while escaped from prison.

The penalty for aggravated murder ranges from capital punishment to life imprisonment.

Felony Murder

A special category exists for murders committed while engaging in another crime. If you commit murder in the perpetration or attempted perpetration any of the following, you will face the same penalty as aggravated murder:

The following table highlights the main provisions of Ohio's aggravated murder laws. See also First-Degree Murder Defenses and First-Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing.

Code Sections First-Degree Murder: Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.01

"Aggravated murder"

What is Prohibited?

A planned or intentional homicide of another person or unborn fetus or a homicide while committing certain listed felonies.

Felony Murder A person commits felony murder (murder) if any death (even an accidental one) results from the commission of certain violent felonies -- such as arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape, and robbery.
Penalty Capital punishment, life imprisonment without possibility of parole
Civil Case

Possible wrongful death lawsuit

If you do find yourself facing an aggravated murder or felony murder charge, you may wish to contact an Ohio criminal defense attorney for assistance.

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