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Murder vs. Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

Different Levels of Homicide in Wyoming: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the complex world of Wyoming’s legal system? This video provides a clear and detailed breakdown of the various levels of homicide in Wyoming, from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. We’ll explore the defining factors of each level, the associated penalties and real-life examples to help you better understand the distinctions. Whether you’re a law student, a curious resident or someone interested in criminal law, this guide offers valuable insights into Wyoming’s approach to homicide charges.

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Transcript

00;00;00;01 – 00;00;09;17

Hi, everyone. Today we’re going to talk about the three levels of murder in Wyoming. This is Christina Williams with Just Criminal Law.

00;00;09;17 – 00;00;35;13

And this is David Mann, legal storytelling specialist. Okay. Well, when it comes to legal stories, I think one that we have heard probably more than any other one is this fictional story of murder, because we see this in TV shows and movies and things all the time. But I bet most people don’t really. We always hear like first degree murder, secondary murder. And I think most of us don’t really understand the difference between these three levels.

00;00;35;13 – 00;00;53;15

Right? Yes, I mean, the main difference is first degree has the most serious penalty. Second degree is, you know, less of a penalty. And then manslaughter is the least of the three, the least penalty. That or the least severe penalty.

00;00;53;21 – 00;01;27;01

Okay. So but they’re all homicide charges. So it’s somebody killing someone else, basically. So in order to understand this, why don’t we, why don’t we do it like this so that there is, there’s a situation and we’ll look at it through three different outcomes. So let’s say it’s, say a wife has found her husband is cheating on him, on her so she’s now like ready to kill him. So what happens at that point that makes it first degree murder?

00;01;27;01 – 00;02;00;18

Well, the main thing that the state would have to prove if the wife kills the husband because, you know, he’s cheating on her, is that she premeditated it. That is you know, she decided, “I’m going to seek the ultimate revenge here. He’s hurt me and I’m going to plan how to murder him. And then I’m going to actually take the steps and follow through with the murder.” That’s the premeditated, you know, kind of lying in wait, “I’m going to kill a person.” That’s first degree.

00;02;00;18 – 00;02;23;01

Okay. So that’s the maximum. So then we’ll take it down one notch and we’ll say, all right, so here we have the same wife with the same husband. She finds out that he’s cheating on her and now she doesn’t, she’s not going to kill him, but she is ready to really hurt him and she uses some kind of weapon. How does that then result in second degree murder?

00;02;23;01 – 00;02;43;14

Right. So if she, you know, decides, “I’m really hurt and I’m going to make him feel. that same hurt. And, you know, she picks up a knife and stabs him in the stomach with no intention of killing him, just hurting him. But, you know, a week later, he ends up dying from the injuries. That’s the second degree.

00;02;43;14 – 00;02;55;20
Hmm. Okay. So that’s first and second. I can’t really think of what manslaughter in this scenario would be. So how would you describe that third one with our same two characters here?

00;02;55;20 – 00;03;33;20
Sure. So say wife comes home early from work and she walks into the bedroom she shares with her husband and catches him sleeping with another woman. And, you know, she grabs the gun or some other sort of weapon and you know, then shoots the husband and he’s dead. She walks through that door with no intention to kill. She sees her husband in bed with another woman and under that heat of passion kills him. That’s considered manslaughter.

00;03;33;20 – 00;03;43;08
Aha. Wow. So that’s three distinct different types of homicide charge that carry different penalties with them, I assume.

00;03;43;08 – 00;04;13;15

Yes, and, you know, just depending on the facts and what, you know, the attorney can prove as far as your intent. That’s really, you know, up to the jury. But a lot of times they’re given, you know, the say you’re charged with the first degree, they’re given the opportunity to convict, to a lesser offense. And so, you know, it is fact dependent. And it all comes down to what was that person’s intent.

00;04;13;15 – 00;04;22;01
All right. So we’re going to hope that no one watching this actually has this problem. But in case they do, how do they get a hold of you to help them out?

00;04;22;01 – 00;04;34;21
Sure. We’ll include a link in the description where they can call, text or chat with a member of my team any time, day or night. Here at Just Criminal Law, we know you only get one shot at Justice. So make yours count.

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