The crime of First Degree Murder is committed when someone intentionally takes the life of another person after premeditation or deliberation. The element of premeditation is what sets First Degree Murder apart from other forms of homicide. Premeditation means to think beforehand. Premeditation can be proven by the circumstances surrounding the killing, the type of wounds inflicted, the previous relationship of the parties, and evidence of prior motive and planning. If there is any evidence of premeditated killing, you can be convicted of First Degree Murder.
First Degree Murder is sometimes charged as Felony Murder. This means that the murder occurred during the commission of another specified felony. The malice element required to prove Second Degree Murder is inferred from the underlying felonious conduct. Therefore, the prosecutor must only prove that a certain type of felony was being committed when the killing was done. The punishment for Felony Murder is the same as First Degree Murder, mandatory life in prison.
First Degree Murder is a capital offense punishable by mandatory life in prison. This is the most serious felony charge because it results in a mandatory life sentence. Once convicted of First Degree Murder, there can be no reduction in your sentence unless you win on appeal.