Twelve Killed; Twenty Four Counts Of Murder?


Can someone explain to me how the Colorado shooter can be charged with twenty four counts of murder when he killed twelve people?

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ll look into it & get back to you. In some states this can’t be done, in others there are different loopholes. I don’t know the situation in Colorado, but I’ll try to get some info.

  2. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    So, this is from the Telegraph in the UK. It doesn’t have it how a lawyer would describe it, but it does say:

    Each death carried two separate murder charges, one for showing premeditation and one for showing extreme indifference to life. Both of the charges carry the death penalty as a possible sentence.

    So, Emu Sam is right and wrong. With malice aforethought pointing a gun at someone and pulling the trigger on a firearm that releases a bullet that then causes lethal injury – that’s premeditated murder.

    Entering a crowded theater, pointing a gun at crowd level and pulling the trigger not caring who lives or dies, that’s depraved indifference or extreme indifference to consequences to human life while wielding lethal force. Also murder, but of a different kind.

    It’s not so much that one might stick and one might not. It’s that one might be actually correct and another might not, but they have reasonable cases for each, so they charge each and set about trying to prove them. The fact that in some cases proving one means disproving the other does not mean there is not enough evidence to go to trial.

    of course, I’d have to research how the state murder statutes have been interpreted, but it’s also possible to commit both crimes against the same person. One negligently drives into someone in such a way as to exhibit extreme indifference. The injuries are lethal. But the person is still alive and you don’t want them talking to paramedics, so you pull your shotgun off your gun rack and kill them. Depending on how the statutes are worded, one might in this case be guilty of both a negligently murderous act and a premeditated act of murder against the same person.

    More research is needed to know if colorado is a state in which it is possible to convict on 2 counts for murder against one victim. I might get to it later, but likely not soon. Anyone practice criminal law in Colorado?

  3. subbie says

    According to an annotation to C.R.S. 18-3-102 (2011):

    Defendant can be convicted only of one first degree murder for one killing, as two convictions for one killing would result in enhanced collateral punishment. People v. Lowe, 660 P.2d 1261 (Colo. 1983); People v. Ragland, 747 P.2d 4 (Colo. App. 1987); People v. Fincham, 799 P.2d 419 (Colo. App. 1990).

    found at http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/colorado/

  4. Francisco Bacopa says

    How can these not all be first degree murders, in which case there can be no more than twelve charges? Dudebro parked his truck against the exit he didn’t come in from. He killed with clear premeditation.

    I have to say I probably would have died that night as I would have done something smart like run toward the shooter to take the other front exit. Oops, it’s blocked. Now I am a priority target. RIP me.

  5. soul_biscuit says

    How can these not all be first degree murders, in which case there can be no more than twelve charges?

    Well, they are all first degree murders, but half of them are on a premeditation theory and the other half are on a depraved indifference theory, as Crip Dyke already pointed out. Of course the two theories are mutually inconsistent, because a person can’t simultaneously intend to kill someone and not care whether he kills someone.

    I wonder what happens if the jury convicts on all counts. I think there would be grounds for a retrial there, as it would be clear evidence that the jury didn’t understand or disregarded the instructions.

  6. Salmo says

    soul_biscuit, it’s not as inconsistent as it seemed. He planned murder, but did not care who he murdered. The planning gets one count, the not caring gets one count. Makes sense to me.

  7. Paul Hunter says

    We can’t fix Crazy
    So we’ll just put him away some place where he won’t be able to hurt anyone else ever again

  8. tbrandt says

    All of the victims could have been pregnant. Since some of the victims were men, it’s also possible that only the female victims were pregnant, but with twins or triplets.

  9. soul_biscuit says

    He planned murder, but did not care who he murdered. The planning gets one count, the not caring gets one count.

    “Depraved indifference” murder doesn’t mean that you set out to kill people but that you don’t care who dies in particular. It means that you engage in a dangerous activity that you know could kill people, without caring whether someone dies.

    You could plan in advance to engage in that kind of activity, but that wouldn’t be premeditated murder, which requires that you plan to kill people, and then deliberately kill people.

  10. jakc says

    This sort of overcharging is common among prosecutors. By using these mutually contradictory charges, it’s easier to get a conviction. In the more usual case, a person charged in the killing of one other person, this kind of charging allows half the jury to agree to one theory (and reject the other), and the other half to do the opposite. Overcharging reduces the chances of a Hung jury or conviction on a lesser charge. For example, two guys get in a fight and one pulls out a gun and shoots the other. Prosecutor tells the jury you can find 1st degree murder if you find premeditation, or you can find 1st degree murder if you think the fight is a felony assualt (felony murder).

    Given that you’re dealing with someone who has killed a person, most people aren5 concerned with protecting his or her rights. What would be interesting to research here is whether the jury has to agree unanimously on one charge. My guess is no

  11. anon says

    I think crip dyke hit the nail. Extreme indifference is something that a drunk driver may be charged with (as one example) – driving his car on the sidewalk. This person may have had no intention of killing anyone, but driving a car on the sidewalk is inherently hazardous and can potentially kill people. The same goes for shooting into a crowded theater. I think this charge was pressed for all victims – those who survived injury, and for those who did not. For those who did not, there is the added charge of first degree murder, since it was clearly planned.

  12. subbie says

    It’s actually quite common to lay multiple charges on different theories for one crime. You never know what might come out at trial, and having multiple theories increases the chances of getting a conviction if something unusual happens.

  13. F says

    What would be interesting to research here is whether the jury has to agree unanimously on one charge. My guess is no

    Yes, the jury has to find for each individual charge. Which is why what you frequently see is not two equal charges of, say, first degree murder, but a first and a second degree option, so if the jury cannot find for first (even though the prosecution feels there is sufficient evidence), they can fall back to the lesser charge and still get a conviction. In this case, it seems to be between two sorts of first degree homicide, whichever theory seems to be the best fit, since n matter the facts, what fuckwit did was first degree without a doubt.

  14. jakc says

    @F.
    You’re right of course. What I was really wondering (and didn’t express) is whether the jury has to agree on the same theory. It seems a better practice to explicitly make separate charges rather than a single charge (1st degree murder) with separate theories (say, premeditation or depraved indifference) that justify the charge. In that case, jurors can convict (at least in some jurisdictions) by agreeing on the charge but not the theory. I’ve always had problems with that approach.

  15. subbie says

    jake, there are two separate charges of murder for each victim, one alleging premeditation, the other alleging extreme indifference to life. To convict on any of the charges, the jury has to agree on the same theory as applied to the same victim. It’s not sufficient for half the jury to find him guilty of premeditation and the other have to find him guilty of extreme indifference.

    Does that answer your concern?

  16. Sarah says

    He received two counts for each of the 12 people he shot and killed. Each death carried two separate murder charges, one for showing premeditation and one for showing extreme indifference to life.

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