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Capital Murder

Capital Murder

Capital Murder is, by far, the most serious of violent crimes in Alabama. Capital Murder is a Class A felony, carrying with it a potential ten (10) years to life sentence or even a possible penalty of death. Typically speaking, a defendant or individual charged or suspected of capital murder involves allegations where that individual planned and possessed premeditation to commit murder.  However, there are a number of capital offenses other than premeditated murder.

According to Alabama law, specifically Alabama Code 13A-5-40, Capital offenses include the following:

(1) Murder by the defendant during a kidnapping in the first degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.

(2) Murder by the defendant during a robbery in the first degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.

(3) Murder by the defendant during a rape in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant;  or murder by the defendant during sodomy in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.

(4) Murder by the defendant during a burglary in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.

(5) Murder of any police officer, sheriff, deputy, state trooper, federal law enforcement officer, or any other state or federal peace officer of any kind, or prison or jail guard, while such officer or guard is on duty, regardless of whether the defendant knew or should have known the victim was an officer or guard on duty, or because of some official or job-related act or performance of such officer or guard.

(6) Murder committed while the defendant is under sentence of life imprisonment.

(7) Murder done for a pecuniary or other valuable consideration or pursuant to a contract or for hire.

(8) Murder by the defendant during sexual abuse in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.

(9) Murder by the defendant during arson in the first or second degree committed by the defendant;  or murder by the defendant by means of explosives or explosion.

(10) Murder wherein two or more persons are murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct.

(11) Murder by the defendant when the victim is a state or federal public official or former public official and the murder stems from or is caused by or is related to his official position, act, or capacity.

(12) Murder by the defendant during the act of unlawfully assuming control of any aircraft by use of threats or force with intent to obtain any valuable consideration for the release of said aircraft or any passenger or crewmen thereon or to direct the route or movement of said aircraft, or otherwise exert control over said aircraft.

(13) Murder by a defendant who has been convicted of any other murder in the 20 years preceding the crime;  provided that the murder which constitutes the capital crime shall be murder as defined in subsection (b) of this section;  and provided further that the prior murder conviction referred to shall include murder in any degree as defined at the time and place of the prior conviction.

(14) Murder when the victim is subpoenaed, or has been subpoenaed, to testify, or the victim had testified, in any preliminary hearing, grand jury proceeding, criminal trial or criminal proceeding of whatever nature, or civil trial or civil proceeding of whatever nature, in any municipal, state, or federal court, when the murder stems from, is caused by, or is related to the capacity or role of the victim as a witness.

(15) Murder when the victim is less than fourteen years of age.

(16) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used from outside a dwelling while the victim is in a dwelling.

(17) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon while the victim is in a vehicle.

(18) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle.

(19) Murder by the defendant where a court had issued a protective order for the victim, against the defendant, pursuant to Section 30-5-1 et seq. , or the protective order was issued as a condition of the defendant's pretrial release.

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