From Chicago Drive-bys to Breaking Up Fights — 9 Murders in Two Weeks
Chicago sees its fair share of gun violence and murder, and February of 2021 has so far been no different. From Chicago drive-bys to breaking up fights there were nine murders reported in a span of just two weeks.
In fact, in one weekend alone in early February, there were 22 hurt and 4 dead from gun violence. One 42-year-old man was simply trying to stop a fight when he was shot to death. Another man was killed in a drive-by shooting that took place in the Little Village neighborhood.
While it’s true the death penalty may no longer apply in this state, that doesn’t mean that an Illinois murder isn’t punished harshly and that it could for all intents and purposes take away your life.
Murder in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, murder is considered a violent crime. That means that some type of threat of harm or harm was done to another person. The most serious violent crime under the law is murder.
In Illinois, there are different levels of murder that can be prosecuted. The crime with which someone is charged is largely dependent upon the state of mind of the perpetrator during the crime as well as the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of murder charges and the penalties associated with a conviction for each.
The Different Types of Murder
Illinois classifies every murder crime in one of four ways: as either one of two degrees, as reckless homicide, or as an involuntary manslaughter crime.
This is the most serious charge associated with homicide. Illinois law defines it as the intention to do great bodily harm to or kill someone else by perpetrating an act that is known to cause death without legal justification.
Basically, acting intentionally to kill someone else – and doing so while not acting in self-defense – can result in a first-degree murder charge.
Illinois also has something called felony murder. This is a murder that is committed while also committing a forceable felony such as armed robbery. Felony murder will result in a first-degree murder charge.
As a Class 1 felony, the penalties for first-degree murder include up to life in prison. If you are charged and convicted of murder as a Class X felony, then you can also face life in prison but never have the opportunity for parole.
This charge is not considered as serious as first-degree murder in the sense that the crime is not seen as premeditated, but it still can result in very serious consequences.
Second-degree murder is normally charged when a person purposefully or knowingly kills another person but did it with may have impacted their state of mind when the crime occurred.
An example is someone who catches their partner in bed with another person and ends up murdering one or both of them. It can also apply to those who believed at the moment that the killing was justified.
If convicted of second-degree murder, a person can face up to 20 years in prison but have the possibility of parole at some point.
Reckless Homicide/Involuntary Manslaughter
The crime of involuntary manslaughter/reckless homicide is committed when someone acts in a reckless or negligent way that results in the death of another person. This can include a car accident that kills someone else when drinking and driving.
It is a Class 3 felony and can result in up to five years behind bars and fines of as much as $25,000.
The killing of another person is perhaps one of the most serious crimes that can occur in society, which is why it’s dealt with so severely. Understand your rights if you’re ever charged with a crime associated with murder so that you can have the best chance at a proper defense.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.