Killing of one human being by another. Homicide is a general term; it includes murder, manslaughter, and other criminal homicides as well as noncriminal killings. Murder is the crime of intentionally and unjustifiably killing another. In the U.S., first-degree murder is a homicide committed with premeditation or in the course of a serious felony (e.g., kidnapping). Second- and third-degree murder involve lesser degrees of intent. Manslaughter is commonly divided into voluntary (or first-degree) and involuntary (or second- and third-degree) manslaughter. The first type encompasses any homicide resulting from an intentional act done without malice or premeditation and while in the heat of passion or on sudden provocation; the second type is variously defined in different jurisdictions but often includes an element of unlawful recklessness or negligence. Noncriminal homicides include killings committed in defense of oneself or another and deaths resulting from accidents caused by persons engaged in lawful acts. See also felony and misdemeanour; self-defense.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on homicide, visit Britannica.com.

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