Category Archives: Homicide

Illinois manslaughter defense lawyerWhen a victim dies because of another person’s actions, the law considers this to be a homicide. It does not matter whether the individual who caused the death intended for a death to occur – he or she can be charged with homicide, as long as his or her actions were not justified. Whether a person is charged with manslaughter or murder depends on the circumstances surrounding the death, including whether the death was the result of an intentional act.

Manslaughter and murder are both serious charges that carry steep penalties for convicted individuals. There are different penalties for these different convictions, and in certain cases, it could be possible to strike a plea bargain, lowering a murder charge to a manslaughter charge and drastically reducing the potential penalties.

What Constitutes Murder?

Murder is defined as the act of intentionally killing another human being without lawful justification (such as self-defense). To find a defendant guilty of first degree murder in Illinois, the court must prove that at least one of the following was true when the victim’s death occurred:

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murder, Naperville criminal defense attorney, criminal defense, emojis, criminal convictionA United States judge recently sentenced an Illinois man to nine years in jail for using emojis to give aid in the killing of a wealthy woman from Chicago who was on vacation in Indonesia. Court files describe how the defendant sent a “high-five” symbol to his cousin and his girlfriend after they murdered the Chicago woman by bludgeoning her to death with a fruit-stand handle. The killers then stuffed the body inside of a suitcase.

Lethal Advice

The prosecution's theory of the case was that the defendant offered the tips on how to complete the murder in exchange for a cut of the victim's inheritance money. The victim was the mother of the defendant’s cousin’s girlfriend. The state is seeking a nine to 11-year sentence.

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Naperville criminal defense attorneys, truck driver negligenceIn 2014, a car accident near Aurora involving a semi-trailer truck led to the tragic death of a tollway maintenance worker. A state trooper at the scene was also severely injured. The driver of the truck was subsequently arrested and charged with operating a commercial vehicle while fatigued, driving beyond the 14-hour rule, and keeping false records. Responding to the public outcry that followed the accident, State Representative John Cabello drafted and introduced a new law increasing the penalty for truck drivers who cause great bodily harm or death to emergency responders and pedestrians through negligent driving.

House Bill 1516

Under the new law, which went into effect on January 1 of this year, any driver of a commercial motor vehicle who willfully violates the Illinois Motor Carrier Safety Law and subsequently causes an accident that injures or causes the death of another person will be charged with either a Class 3 or Class 2 felony. Examples of behaviors that constitute violation of the Motor Carrier Safety Law include:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, violent crimeHomicide, murder, and manslaughter are familiar terms, and people often use them somewhat interchangeably to describe killing. But under Illinois law, they actually have different meanings, which can sometimes be confusing.

In Illinois, the term “homicide” means the killing of another person. Murder and manslaughter are types of homicide. Depending on the circumstances, homicide may or may not be a crime. Homicides are considered justifiable if there was a reason to kill the other person, such as self-defense or defending another person. If the homicide was justifiable, it is not a crime. Murder and manslaughter, however, are both criminal offenses in Illinois.

Murder

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An article running in the Beacon-News reports that 23 year old Martell Harris, of Jorstad Lane, has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of his own father. Police were called to a residence on the 700 block of Jorstad Lane at 10:12 a.m. Monday August 20, 2012.  When the police arrived at the single family home within the Tanner Trails subdivision they found Michael Harris Sr., 41, had sustained a single stab wound to the chest.  Mr. Harris lay on the front porch unconscious and unresponsive.  Just over 30 minutes later, Michael Harris Sr. was pronounced dead at Provena Mercy Medical Center. North Aurora police reported multiple witnesses having seen Mr. Harris‘ son, Martell Harris, 23, flee the scene via the home’s back yard.  Upon inspecting the back yard, police determined that Harris fled towards either a nearby cornfield or a nearby wooded area.  This lead to a massive manhunt involving Aurora police, North Aurora police, Kane County Sheriffs deputies, an Illinois State Police airplane, and a helicopter from Homeland Security. As the helicopter from Homeland Security flew low over the grasslands of the Lake Run Forest Preserve, an Illinois State Police plane circled high above.  K-9 units from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department attempted to follow Martell Harris’ trail from the Harris family home’s backyard to the surrounding cornfields.  A community alert was issued describing a young black male, 5’8’’, 150 pounds as armed and dangerous.  Area schools were even locked down and residents were asked to stay inside their homes. After nearly 3 hours searching and no luck in tracking the suspect, police began to gather near the Harris residence as police tape blocked the street surrounding the home.  According to police, an officer happened to somehow be alerted to movement within the home’s garage.  Suspecting that Martell Harris may be hiding within, police officers entered the garage with guns drawn.  An officer spotted a person hidden under clutter and debris and began shouting for the person to “Come out!  Come out with your hands up!”  With complete compliance, the person raised his hands and knelt down allowing the police to handcuff him and secure him under arrest.  He was quickly escorted to a police car at the end of the driveway.  The man was positively identified as Martell Harris.   No shots were fired and no person injured. Police are still unclear as to how Harris eluded capture within the garage and in such close proximity to multiple law enforcement personnel. According to Kane County prosecutors, Martell Harris was charged with two counts of first degree murder in relation to the stabbing death of his father, Michael Harris Sr..  Martell Harris has no previous criminal history within Kane County.  His bond hearing was set for Tuesday August 21, 2012. Please contact our law offices immediately if you or someone you are associated with finds themselves facing murder charges.  A well trained defense team will protect your rights and guide you through the difficulty of facing these crimes.

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