1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/mcm/bl118.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 118—Murder
 More of this Feature
• Punitive Articles Menu
• Complete UCMJ
 Join the Discussion
Military Law
 Related Resources
• Court Martials
• Nonjudicial Punishment (Art 15)
• Administrative Discharges
• Military Lawyers
• Manual for Courts Martial (MCM)
 
 From Other Guides
• Crime & Punishment
• Current Events: Law
• Government
• US Government Info 

Text.

“Any person subject to this chapter who, without justification or excuse, unlawfully kills a human being, when he—”

(1) has a premeditated design to kill;

(2) intends to kill or inflict great bodily harm;

(3) is engaged in an act that is inherently dangerous to another and evinces a wanton disregard of human life; or

(4) is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery, or aggravated arson; is guilty of murder, and shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial may direct, except that if found guilty under clause (1) or (4), he shall suffer death or imprisonment for life as a court-martial may direct.

Elements.

(1) Premeditated murder.

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the act or omission of the accused;

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That, at the time of the killing, the accused had a premeditated design to kill.

(2) Intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the act or omission of the accused;

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That, at the time of the killing, the accused had the intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm upon a person.

(3) Act inherently dangerous to another.

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the intentional act of the accused;

(c) That this act was inherently dangerous to another and showed a wanton disregard for human life;

(d) That the accused knew that death or great bodily harm was a probable consequence of the act; and

(e) That the killing was unlawful.

(4) During certain offenses.

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the act or omission of the accused;

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That, at the time of the killing, the accused was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery, or aggravated arson.

Explanation.

(1) In general. Killing a human being is unlawful when done without justification or excuse. See R.C.M. 916. Whether an unlawful killing constitutes murder or a lesser offense depends upon the circumstances. The offense is committed at the place of the act or omission although the victim may have died elsewhere. Whether death occurs at the time of the accused’s act or omission, or at some time thereafter, it must have followed from an injury received by the victim which resulted from the act or omission.

(2) Premeditated murder.

(a) Premeditation. A murder is not premeditated unless the thought of taking life was consciously conceived and the act or omission by which it was taken was intended. Premeditated murder is murder committed after the formation of a specific intent to kill someone and consideration of the act intended. It is not necessary that the intention to kill have been entertained for any particular or consider-able length of time. When a fixed purpose to kill has been deliberately formed, it is immaterial how soon afterwards it is put into execution. The existence of premeditation may be inferred from the circumstances.

(b) Transferred premeditation. When an accused with a premeditated design attempted to unlawfully kill a certain person, but, by mistake or inadvertence, killed another person, the accused is still criminally responsible for a premeditated murder, because the premeditated design to kill is transferred from the intended victim to the actual victim.

(c) Intoxication. Voluntary intoxication (see R.C.M. 916(1)(2)) not amounting to legal insanity may reduce premeditated murder (Article 118(1)) to unpremeditated murder (Article 118(2) or (3)) but it does not reduce either premeditated murder or unpremeditated murder to manslaughter (Article 119) or any other lesser offense.

(3) Intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

(a) Intent. An unlawful killing without premeditation is also murder when the accused had either an intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm. It may be inferred that a person intends the natural and probable consequences of an act purposely done. Hence, if a person does an intentional act likely to result in death or great bodily injury, it may be inferred that death or great bodily injury was in-tended. The intent need not be directed toward the person killed, or exist for any particular time before commission of the act, or have previously existed at all. It is sufficient that it existed at the time of the act or omission (except if death is inflicted in the heat of a sudden passion caused by adequate provocation— see paragraph 44). For example, a person committing housebreaking who strikes and kills the householder attempting to prevent flight can be guilty of murder even if the householder was not seen until the moment before striking the fatal blow.

(b) Great bodily harm. “Great bodily harm” means serious injury; it does not include minor injuries such as a black eye or a bloody nose, but it does include fractured or dislocated bones, deep cuts, torn members of the body, serious damage to internal organs, and other serious bodily injuries. It is synonymous with the term “grievous bodily harm.”

(c) Intoxication. Voluntary intoxication not amounting to legal insanity does not reduce un-premeditated murder to manslaughter (Article 119) or any other lesser offense.

(4) Act inherently dangerous to others.

(a) Wanton disregard of human life. Intentionally engaging in an act inherently dangerous to another—although without an intent to cause the death of or great bodily harm to any particular person, or even with a wish that death will not be caused—may also constitute murder if the act shows wanton disregard of human life. Such disregard is characterized by heedlessness of the probable consequences of the act or omission, or indifference to the likelihood of death or great bodily harm. Examples include throwing a live grenade toward another in jest or flying an aircraft very low over one or more persons to cause alarm.

(b) Knowledge. The accused must know that death or great bodily harm was a probable consequence of the inherently dangerous act. Such knowledge may be proved by circumstantial evidence.

(5) During certain offenses.

(a) In general. The commission or attempted commission of any of the offenses listed in Article 118(4) is likely to result in homicide, and when an unlawful killing occurs as a consequence of the perpetration or attempted perpetration of one of these offenses, the killing is murder. Under these circumstances it is not a defense that the killing was unintended or accidental.

(b) Separate offenses. The perpetration or attempted perpetration of the burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery, or aggravated arson may be charged separately from the homicide.

Lesser included offenses.

(1) Premeditated murder and murder during certain offenses. Article 118(2) and (3)—murder

(2) All murders under Article 118.

(a) Article 119—involuntary manslaughter

(b) Article 128—assault; assault consummated by a battery; aggravated assault

(c) Article 134—negligent homicide

(3) Murder as defined in Article 118(1), (2), and (4).

(a) Article 80—attempts

(b) Article 119—voluntary manslaughter

(c) Article 134—assault with intent to commit murder

(d) Article 134—assault with intent to commit voluntary manslaughter

Maximum punishment.

(1) Article 118(1) or (4) -- death. Mandatory minimum -- imprisonment for life with eligibility for parole.

(2) Article 118(2) or (3)—such punishment other than death as a court-martial may direct.

Next Article > Article 119—Manslaughter >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 43

 

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.