In Missouri, an individual can be charged with murder in the second degree without actually killing another person. Under Missouri statutes, if an individual commits or attempts to commit any felony, and in the perpetration of that felony or in the flight from the perpetration of that felony, another person is killed as a result, that individual can be charged with murder in the second degree. For example, if an individual is attempting to carjack someone, which is robbery, and the person in the car is trying to get away and accidentally runs over and kills a pedestrian, the carjacker, even though he did not actually kill the pedestrian himself, can be charged with murder in the second degree.
The rationale underlying the felony murder rule is that certain crimes are so dangerous that society wants to deter individuals from engaging in them altogether. Thus, when a person participates in an inherently dangerous felony, he or she may be held responsible for the fatal consequences of that crime, even if someone else caused the actual death.
When defending a felony murder case, the heart of the defense usually rests against defending not against the murder charge itself but rather the underlying felony charge that gave rise to the murder charge. It is imperative to aggressively work to defeat the felony charge, because if that is successful, it would also serve to beat the murder charge.
Our firm is experienced in defending the most serious felony cases, including murder cases. If you or a loved one is being investigated for murder, it is critical that you immediately contact a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.