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Running head: Essay 2: Crimes against persons 1

Essay 2: Crimes against persons 7

Essay 2: Common Law and Modern Day Murder in North Carolina

Rachel McRill

Park University


In the state of North Carolina, the common law of murder is not very different from modern statutes on murder. North Carolina is a state in which murder is not defined by statute, but by common law. A few changes to the definition of murder have been grouping attempted murder with actual murder, and punishing it as such. In this paper, common law and updated statute will be discussed, as well as the reason for changes to the law. Finally, additional changes that would be beneficial for North Carolina's citizens will be examined.

Essay 2: Common Law and Modern Day Murder in North Carolina

Common Law of Murder

The definition of murder under the common law has not changed very much.

Common law defines murder as death by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starvation, willfull, deliberate, and premeditation killing. A homicide occurring during arson, rape, robbery, or kidnapping is also included under murder. First degree murder is defined as specific intent to kill, second degree is general intent to kill. Punishments for murder were life in prison without parole, and the death penalty; only if convicted of first degree murder. Second degree murder is loosely defined as all murders without premeditation or deliberation. Second degree murder held a punishment of life in prison, or a set term of years. This is a Class B2 felony.

Modern Statute of Murder

North Carolina murder law is unique in that it is not defined by statute, but by common law. There have been additions to the common law, this shapes the current definition and punishments of first and second degree murder. Murder...