unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought
(Redirected from Assassinate)

Murder is where one person kills another person with aforethought.[1][2][3] If a person does something reckless that makes someone else die, without the intention of killing, it is homicide and may be manslaughter. An accident caused by carelessness may be criminally negligent homicide. Sometimes, a death caused by someone else may not be a crime, for example killing in self-defense. Though, if the killer could've stopped a violent encounter without killing the victim, it's generally not a lawful killing.

Murder in the House is a painting by Jakub Schikaneder, done in 1890.

A person who commits murder is called a murderer. The legal definition of "murder" and "manslaughter" may be different between countries. A killing in war is not usually called "murder" by those who fight in the war, as it's justifiable homicide. Killing in self defense is usually not "murder". Some countries do not even have manslaughter as a legal concept, and only have murder; the countries that do not have manslaughter charge with murder instead. In fact, the United States did not have manslaughter on the books until the 20th century. England was the first country to indoctrinate manslaughter, and the United States was second.

Most common circumstances for murder in the United States (1999)


A total of 12,658 murders were reported in 1999 in the U.S., including 1,903 without a specified reason, and 3,779 for which the reasons were unknown.

  1. Argument (unspecified) (3,391)
  2. Robbery (1,010)
  3. Juvenile gang killing (579)
  4. Contravention of narcotic drug laws (564)
  5. Argument over money or property (211)
  6. Brawl due to influence of alcohol (187)
  7. Romantic triangle (133)
  8. Gangland killing (116)
  9. Brawl due to influence of narcotics (111)
  10. Burglary (79)

Worst cities for murder in the United States (1999)


New York's status as the murder capital of the world improved during the 1990s. What follows are the number of murders for 1999:

  1. New York, New York (671)
  2. Chicago, Illinois (642)
  3. Los Angeles, California (425)
  4. Detroit, Michigan (415)
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (292)
  6. Houston, Texas (241)
  7. Washington, D.C. (241)
  8. Dallas, Texas (191)
  9. New Orleans, Louisiana (158)
  10. Atlanta, Georgia (143)

Attempted murder


Attempted murder is a crime. Attempted murder, or "attempt murder" in common law countries, also sometimes called "murder attempt", is when someone tries to kill another person.[4] Just planning a murder is not enough. The act must come close to, but does not actually take the life of the other person.[4]

It was punishable by death and the execution was carried out in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire, and of course, China, which is by far the most populated country in the world, to this day.

The Roman Empire carried out about ten thousand executions, most if not all beheadings, during its time, and there is no doubt that many of these were those convicted of attempted murder.



"Assassination" is a word which means murdering a prominent person for a reason. The word is most used when the person who was killed was a celebrity or was a person involved in politics. The people who carry out assassinations are called "assassins" or "Hit-men". An assassin may murder someone for political reasons, for money, or for other reasons, such as favors owed and revenge.

The word "Assassin" comes from Hashishin,[5] a Muslim group that was active in the Middle East from the 8th to the 14th centuries. This secret society killed people for political and religious reasons.[6] It is thought that the assassins were under the influence of hashish and opium during their killings or during their training. The word assassin comes from either hashashim, the influence of the drugs, or hassansin, after their leader, Hassan-i Sabbah.



A murder–suicide is when a person kills someone else (murder), and then they kill themselves (suicide).

No one is tracking the number of murder–suicides in the United States. However, medical studies estimate between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths per year in the United States are murder-suicides.[7]

Degrees of murder


Murder often comes in three degrees: first, second, and third degree murder. First degree murder is considered murder that has been planned out prior to being committed, and this ranges from stalkers to those who assassinate. Second degree murder is considered murder in action, or murder that was committed with intent to kill, but without planning. Third degree murder is when someone kills someone without intent or planning. An example could be in a drunken bar fight. Two men are fighting, both drunk, and one kills another accidentally. While the killer did not intend nor plan to kill the other man, he committed third degree murder by killing him.

Blurry impression of the murder of Inejiro Asanuma by Otoya Yamaguchi, October 1960


  1. West's Encyclopedia of American Law Volume 7 (Legal Representation to Oyez). West Group. 1997. ISBN 978-0314201607. Retrieved 10 September 2017. ("The unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse.")
  2. "Murder". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  3. The American Heritage Dictionary (5 ed.). Random House Publishing Group. 2012. ISBN 9780553583229. Retrieved 10 September 2017. ("The killing of another person without justification or excuse, especially the crime of killing a person with malice aforethought or with recklessness manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.")
  4. 4.0 4.1 Michael Costa; Mark Duffy, Australian HIV/AIDS Legal Guide (Sydney: Federation Press, 1991), p. 48
  5. American Speech - McCarthy, Kevin M. Volume 48, pp. 77-83
  6. Secret Societies Handbook, Michael Bradley, Cassell Illustrated, 2005. ISBN 978-1844034161
  7. American Roulette: Murder–Suicide in the United States. Violence Policy Center