View Full Version : Legal question about arrest for murder

05-09-2011, 11:27 PM
I'm trying to iron out the plot of a mystery, and I need to be clear on one basic thing before I go on. Here's the situation: there's been a murder, there's a suspect. Say that the suspect has inherited the victim's considerable property, victim & suspect were known to be on bad terms with each other, and there is no way to prove where they were at the time of the murder aside from their own testimony. Is this enough to have the suspect arrested for murder, or is more concrete evidence needed?

Oh, and this takes place around 1930, if it makes any difference.

05-10-2011, 12:46 AM
I don't know anything about the 1930s, but I would say based on that, it's highly doubtful that a judge would issue an arrest warrant just based on that evidence.

05-10-2011, 06:21 AM
Lots of heirs aren't liked by the decedent. Unless there is something a lot more active than this, no, a judge would not issue a warrant. A judge would need to have reasonable cause to believe that the heir killed the decedent. In addition, you'd need to have reasonable cause that the person died from murder.

However, in the 1930s, outside influences could definitely be brought to bear. Money and power could influence a judge.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

05-10-2011, 04:40 PM
When you say 'bad terms' do you mean they've had clashes? Arguments? Fights? Threatening one another?

If the deceased had a 'violent' argument with the 'suspect' or if the suspect has said: 'I wish you were dead!' (Or similar.) And if there were witnesses to these arguments, a judge might issue an arrest warrant.

There's been a similar case in a town near where I live. An arrest warrant was issued on the basis of threats made by one person to another. The person threatened was killed.

05-10-2011, 05:23 PM
As a practicing prosecutor, I can tell you that Jim is right. Nowadays, there's no way an arrest warrant would issue for that evidence. In the '30s? I'm not that old, so who knows. :)
As Jaksen said, if the "bad terms" included a screaming row with the suspect saying, "I'm gonna kill you" then it's closer but even then, I'd say not enough.

05-12-2011, 07:07 PM
Thanks, everybody. Looks like I've got some more work to do. :)