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  • The year is 2001 and a young woman is returning home to her apartment with her hands full

  • of recently bought groceries.

  • As she walks down the hallway towards the door of her apartment, she sees her neighbor

  • holding on to the leashes of two incredibly strong and vicious-looking mastiff dogs.

  • The woman is taking care of them while their owner, a high-ranking member of the Aryan

  • Brotherhood, serves time in prison.

  • No sooner than the dogs see the woman they lunge forward, easily getting away from the

  • woman who's holding them.

  • A savage attack ensues.

  • She does not survive the prolonged assault, after being bitten on every part of her body

  • beside her scalp and the soles of her feet.

  • The woman who was looking after the dogs understood how dangerous they were.

  • She and her husband were both attorneys doing legal work for the imprisoned owner, so that's

  • how they ended up with the dogs.

  • They were aware of how those dogsthe largest weighing 140 pounds (64 kg) – had

  • been badly treated and were extremely aggressive.

  • Ok viewers, think about that short story for a second.

  • You haven't been given all the facts, but you've heard the basics.

  • What was the person taking care of the dogs guilty of?

  • What about her husband, who wasn't even there at the time of the attack?

  • The answer is, both the husband and wife were sent to prison at first for involuntary manslaughter.

  • The thing is, the wife had at first been charged with what's called implied-malice second-degree

  • murder, and although the jury had found her guilty of that, the judge rejected the decision.

  • Seven years later, that decision was reinstated.

  • The dogs, by the way, were euthanized after the attack.

  • You could say they got the death sentence.

  • Some of you might now be thinking how come the husband was convicted of manslaughter

  • even though he wasn't there.

  • Others might be thinking, well, he was equally responsible since he agreed to look after

  • the dogs.

  • We're guessing most of you are wondering what on Earth is implied-malice second-degree

  • murder.

  • The short answer is it's a degree of murder.

  • In the realms of law and how it's applied, murder is far from simple.

  • Today we explain what all the degrees are, and to make things clearer for you, we'll

  • give you some rather stark examples.

  • Ok, so you've all heard of the word, “homicide”.

  • You've probably watched a cop show and heard the line, “I think we've got a homicide

  • on our hands.”

  • It basically means the killing of another person.

  • It might have happened through a reckless act, or it might have been on purpose.

  • It could also be unintentional, or an accident.

  • There is something callednon-culpable homicide”.

  • What that means is that the act of killing a person was justified in some way, such as

  • in self-defense, or when a soldier kills another soldier.

  • It could also be an accident in which a person that caused the accident is not at all at

  • fault.

  • The Latin wordculpameans fault or blame, so you can be culpable or not culpable.

  • When there's a non-culpable homicide, compensation might be sought, but it's not a criminal

  • offense.

  • However, if you cause an accident and someone dies it could be a criminal offense if your

  • actions were a result ofwillful blindness,” ornegligence.”

  • A man in the US was convicted of negligent homicide after he left his 6-month old daughter

  • in a vehicle for six hours.

  • She died as a result.

  • The man claimed he'd forgotten.

  • After finding his daughter, he put her in the refrigerator to cool her down.

  • Even though this all sounds quite horrific, in the end, he didn't do any prison time.

  • Negligent homicide is similar to manslaughter, but it's also different.

  • They both relate to killing a person without any intention to do so, although the former

  • concerns not doing something rather than doing something.

  • Manslaughter is more about recklessness, while negligent homicide relates more to making

  • a fatal mistake.

  • How courts see things depends on them.

  • That guy who left his kid in the car could have been convicted of manslaughter, and there

  • have even been cases where the same happened and the parent has been charged with murder.

  • That happened in 2016 in Georgia.

  • As you'll understand after you've finished the show, what a person is charged with doesn't

  • always make sense, or at least Person A and Person B can commit the exact same offense

  • and there are two different outcomes in relation to what they're convicted of.

  • Culpable homicide has three main categories: murder, manslaughter and infanticide (that

  • means killing an infant).

  • As you'll see, there's more to it than this, though.

  • Let's start with something rather easy.

  • Take the story of Ted Bundy.

  • He killed people because he wanted to kill people.

  • That was his intention.

  • That's certainly a culpable homicide.

  • As is hurting someone so bad that the perpetrator is pretty sure the injuries will lead to death.

  • Ok, so what if Mr. A plans to kill Mr. B, but he doesn't achieve this, but actually

  • kills bystander Mrs. C. What's that?

  • Well, it's still murder even if the person didn't mean to kill Mrs. C. and that's

  • because his first intention was to kill, but in this case, the killing was transferred

  • to another person.

  • This is calledtransferred intent.”

  • Let's now give you an example.

  • A woman in the US was shot and killed even though she was totally unknown to the guy

  • that pulled the trigger.

  • He was standing a block away having an argument with a guy when he shot the gun.

  • You could say he didn't mean to kill the woman, but because he did mean to kill the

  • man, he was charged with murder with transferred intent.

  • Even if you do something that you know is so crazy that it could possibly kill someone

  • but you didn't have the explicit aim to kill someone, it can still be ruled as a murder.

  • It basically means that your conduct was so damn dangerous and foolish that when a person

  • died as a result it is murder.

  • This could be said to be a third-degree murder, something which not all states in the US have.

  • In other countries, it just wouldn't be called murder.

  • It'd be called manslaughter.

  • It can also be calleddepraved-heart murder,” which sounds like something from Middle Ages

  • Britain.

  • We should say that this can be both second-degree and third-degree.

  • We told you this was complicated.

  • Let's give you a real-life example of a depraved heart murder.

  • There was a teenager in the US who thought it would be a good idea to get the guys together

  • and play a game of Russian roulette.

  • That's never a good idea.

  • One kid died as a result.

  • During the trial, his defense argued that it wasn't murder because there was no intent,

  • but in the end, he was found guilty under the depraved-heart murder doctrine.

  • We found a more recent example involving a man who supplied a woman with drugs knowing

  • that the drugs were very strong.

  • She died sometime later, and the guy was convicted of depraved-heart third-degree murder.

  • That happened in the state of Minnesota, a place where you can be convicted of third-degree

  • murder for the murder of an unborn child.

  • This is how this kind of murder has been explained.

  • A murderwithout intent to effect the death of any person, causing the death of another

  • by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without

  • regard for human life.”

  • Yep, being stupid can make you a murderer, in some countries at least.

  • In many countries, if you can't prove killing with intent you will not be sentenced to murder

  • at all, but the sentence of the crime will be based on just how reckless the action was.

  • Then you have second-degree murder, which also differs from state to state or how a

  • jury in any state will view the crime.

  • Unlike what we've just talked about, it usually involves the killing of another without

  • explicit intent.

  • Let's imagine that you've lent your friend some cash but when you ask for it back, he

  • refuses to pay up.

  • Worse than that, he then tells you that you never gave him any money, and anyway, you're

  • a total pushover.

  • He then goes and tells his friends what a loser you are.

  • Another thing, your mom is always going on about how you need anger management sessions.

  • You are infuriated at that very moment, and even though you have no plan to kill the guy,

  • you just pick up a baseball bat that is handily laying around and whack him with it.

  • In this case, you might be charged with second-degree murder because you didn't plan on killing

  • him.

  • You did know, though, that when you violently swung that bat, you'd cause serious damage

  • to his head.

  • If he actually started hitting you and you went overboard and smashed his head with that

  • bat it could be deemed a lesser crime, but we'll get around to that.

  • You could have also been charged with second-degree murder if you showed what is called extreme

  • indifference to human life.

  • Let's imagine you didn't have a bat, but inside your house, you had a gun.

  • Since your emotions were all exploding you went into your house and grabbed it.

  • When you went outside you just acted up, not really firing at your friend, who was now

  • some distance away laughing about you with his friends, but you fired over their heads

  • to cause a scene...except someone was hit and died.

  • Maybe you thought it was an accident, but you showed extreme indifference to human life.

  • Now you're a second-degree murderer.

  • Something similar recently happened recently in Alaska.

  • Two men had been arguing in a car when the driver ordered his friend to get out.

  • The driver went on for a bit and then turned around.

  • He drove back in the same direction and swerved as if to hit his friend.

  • This could have been first-degree murder, but he was only charged with second-degree

  • because it was thought he didn't really mean to kill him.

  • Ok, so what is that thing calledFelony Murder.”

  • It basically means that someone had the intent to commit a felony crime but in the process

  • of doing that someone was killed.

  • This can be complicated, too, so we'll give you an example.

  • Two guys go into a clothing store with the intention of robbing it.

  • That's a felony crime.

  • But during the commission of that crime, one of the guys pulls out a gun and shoots the

  • store owner.

  • Ok, so the other guy didn't even know his buddy was carrying a gun, but it doesn't

  • matter, he was there.

  • He could be charged with felony murder, either first-degree or second-degree, but likely

  • first-degree.

  • Let's now change the scenario.

  • The two guys go into the store unarmed, except this time the owner pulls out a gun and kills

  • one of the offenders.

  • He leaves the other alone.

  • The owner is not charged with anything since he was protecting his property, but the surviving

  • guy is charged with felony murder because it's partly his fault his friend was shot.

  • This has happened and it's happened a lot.

  • It's a good reason not to take part in a crime if you know your friends are unstable

  • and dangerous.

  • Most countries would never convict, say, a getaway driver of murder, or the guy keeping

  • lookout, but some states in the US have a zero-tolerance to these crimes never mind

  • if someone was just there.

  • A young man in 2004 was sentenced to life without parole for a felony murder even though

  • he wasn't even close to the crime.

  • He'd just lent his car to some friends, but he'd been told they were going to steal

  • drugs from people.

  • He didn't, however, know anyone would be killed.

  • This is what he later said, “I honestly thought they were going to get food.

  • When they actually mentioned what was going on, I thought it was a joke.”

  • His sentence was later reduced to 25 years.

  • The lesson to be learned here is don't lend your car to small-time gangsters.

  • You could end up facing a lifetime in prison.

  • You can also be convicted of capital murder, which is one that can lead to the death penalty.

  • This can be very straightforward of course, but it can also be felony murder.

  • There are umpteen cases of people not pulling the trigger but were executed just because

  • they were there.

  • In most cases, the people that didn't commit the actual murder were participants in the

  • crime, but in some cases, they may not have known anyone would be killed.

  • That's another reason not to hang out with maniacs.

  • It could get you an appointment with a cocktail of lethal drugs.

  • So, what about that woman at the start of the show who was convicted of implied-malice

  • second-degree murder.

  • What exactly does that mean?

  • Some states will call this a murder in which a person shows “a conscious disregard for

  • life.”

  • In this case, the jury agreed that the woman knew those dogs were capable of killing someone,

  • and yet she still took them out for a walk.

  • She was also aware that if they should try and get away from her she'd be helpless

  • to stop them.

  • You could be charged with this if you joined in on beating some guy up.

  • You and your friends carried on doing it until the guy was black and blue.

  • You should have known this could result in death.

  • Another case in which it could happen is if you had firearms training and killed someone

  • accidentally while showing off your gun.

  • Again, you should have known better.

  • Many drunk drivers have faced this charge.

  • Some courts might find you guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, but if they think

  • you showed enough implied malice they might find you guilty of murder.

  • Manslaughter also has degrees, and they can sound similar to some of the degrees of murder

  • we've discussed.

  • At times, someone might die because of your actions but you might not be charged with

  • a crime at all.

  • Imagine you were walking down the street and some drunk guy bumped into you and then fell

  • and hit his head.

  • That's not a crime.

  • But what if you pushed him?

  • Well, if it's a crime will depend on how hard you pushed him and the whims of criminal

  • justice.

  • There's involuntary manslaughter, which means the unintentional killing of someone

  • from negligence or reckless behavior.

  • That can also sometimes be deemed a kind of murder.

  • An example of involuntary manslaughter could be a guy working on a rollercoaster who forgets

  • to buckle someone in and they die.

  • It wasn't a depraved action and there was no malice, unless the guy was drunk or something.

  • In most cases, if he was just forgetful, it would be involuntary manslaughter.

  • Let's give you a real-life example of involuntary manslaughter and a strange one at that.

  • A rich man hired a young man to dig a hole under his mansion to find a hidden nuclear

  • bunker.

  • As the man was digging, there was an electrical fire and he died.

  • The rich man was later charged with involuntary manslaughter, which meant his reckless actions

  • had caused the death.