Trend Watch

Depraved-Heart Murder

Six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Grey ...


When:

Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced charges against six police officers on May 1, 2015.

trend-watch-freddie-gray-murder

Why:

Prosecutors announced on Friday that six Baltimore police officers had been charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who died from injuries suffered while in police custody. While four of the officers have been charged with manslaughter - defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being without malice," one of them has been charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, a legal term that is unfamiliar to many people.

Depraved-heart murder means "a murder that is the result of an act which is dangerous to others and shows that the perpetrator has a depraved mind and no regard for human life."

In general, second-degree murder is defined as murder that is intentional but not premeditated, or otherwise doesn't rise to the level of first-degree murder. Individual states use different terms for second-degree murder, including depraved indifference murder and reckless murder. In this Baltimore case, it could be punishable by 30 years in prison.



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