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Joanna Hoyt
09-02-2010, 02:32 AM
Does deceiving someone into taking a hazardous action which leads to their death count as murder, or manslaughter, or anything criminal?

More precisely, if A convinces B that C is trapped in a burning building, and A (who has some reason to feel responsible for C's being there) rushes in to save C and dies, and B knew all along that C wasn't in there....can B be charged with anything?

(No, that isn't exactly what happened in the story I'm working on, but it's simpler than the actual situation.)

suki
09-02-2010, 02:34 AM
Does deceiving someone into taking a hazardous action which leads to their death count as murder, or manslaughter, or anything criminal?

More precisely, if A convinces B that C is trapped in a burning building, and A (who has some reason to feel responsible for C's being there) rushes in to save C and dies, and B knew all along that C wasn't in there....can B be charged with anything?

(No, that isn't exactly what happened in the story I'm working on, but it's simpler than the actual situation.)

Depends where the people are - it will vary state by state in the US. But, generally, if the person intentionally acts with the intent to cause the death of the other, it will be some form of murder, whether their act is obvious or one of deceit.

~suki

benbradley
09-02-2010, 02:41 AM
This should clear that up:

http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7630

Googling her name or antifreeze killer will result in stories only a day old - she just died in prison.

Tsu Dho Nimh
09-02-2010, 08:01 PM
In Arizona, YES:
13-201. Requirements for criminal liability
The minimum requirement for criminal liability is the performance by a person of conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform a duty imposed by law which the person is physically capable of performing.


13-1105. First degree murder; classification
A. A person commits first degree murder if:
1. Intending or knowing that the person's conduct will cause death, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation or, as a result of causing the death of another person with premeditation, causes the death of an unborn child.


*************
Setting booby traps, moving "Bridge Closed" signs on a washed out bridge, throwing firecrackers at a horse so it throws its rider ... these have all been prosecuted as murder because the act was deliberate and was setting up a death-dealing situation.



Some were Negligent homicide, but if "A" knows that the building is empty and lies to "B" to get them to go to the rescue ... no problem with a murder charge. proving that A know the building was empty would be the main problem.

Joanna Hoyt
09-02-2010, 08:52 PM
Thanks all, and sorry I didn't post a clearer question. I can see that moving 'bridge closed' signs would be obvious murder; didn't know if tricking someone into feeling morally obligated to do something obviously life-threatening counted in the same way. I take it from Tsu Do Nimh's post that the answer is yes...given the difficulty of proving what the deceiver knew. That helps.

shaldna
09-02-2010, 09:13 PM
manslaughter and involunatary manslaughter are pretty big here, and would usually be used where someone caused teh death by thier actions but didn't actually kill.

Horseshoes
09-03-2010, 02:49 AM
Your original post does not indicate the deceiver intended for the other person to die. Intent is crucial in a homicide. Without a confession or previous statements testified by others (Joe told me last week he was going to tell Nancy nn was in that burning building so that Nancy would go in there and die.) this ain't Murder in the first.

jclarkdawe
09-03-2010, 04:48 AM
This is one of those cases where if you tell us what your plot needs, we can tell you how to make it happen. Otherwise, what you've created is a law school question that can be answered either way.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

benbradley
09-03-2010, 05:38 AM
Your original post does not indicate the deceiver intended for the other person to die. Intent is crucial in a homicide. Without a confession or previous statements testified by others (Joe told me last week he was going to tell Nancy nn was in that burning building so that Nancy would go in there and die.) this ain't Murder in the first.
From the story I mentioned earlier, I don't think you always need a confession to show intent.

Going from memory of news stories when I earlier posted, she had a boyfriend and a husband die (several years apart), both of apparent heart problems. What was really striking was the symptoms were so similar. A full autopsy on the more recent death showed evidence of antifreeze poisoning, after which the previous body was exhumed and given an autopsy which also showed evidence of antifreeze poisoning. This, apparently, was enough for a jury to convict.

Here's a story in Reader's Digest after her first conviction:
http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/the-black-widow-killer/article26791.html

Joanna Hoyt
09-04-2010, 03:19 AM
Thank you all! Jclarkdawe, my plot could flex, but I'm hoping that the misinformer can actually go without being charged because of the impossibility of proving knowledge and intent. It sounds as though this could be plausible.