Legal Dictionary

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Felony Murder

Felony murder refers to any death that occurs during the commission of a serious felony. If a person dies during the commission or attempted commission of an inherently dangerous felony, that person can be convicted of first-degree murder. The death that occurs can be intentional or unintentional. Inherently dangerous felonies include, but are not limited to, arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, kidnapping, train wrecking, sodomy, child molestation and drive-by shootings. For example, if Tom robs Erick at gunpoint and a fight and struggle ensues and Erick is eventually shot and killed, then Tom could be prosecuted under the felony murder rule and convicted of murder. Felony murder is also referred to as the felony murder doctrine.