Rhode Island Homicide Lawyer

If you or a loved one is charged with homicide (murder) under Rhode Island General Laws § 11-23, the case will most likely result in a trial.

It is essential you retain a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney with extensive trial experience. If you are convicted of murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, or manslaughter, the penalties are extremely harsh.

Basis of a Murder Case

In any murder case, the state of Rhode Island has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The accused unlawfully killed another human being
  2. [With malice aforethought]

However, it is important to note that there are different “degrees” of murder, all of which carry different penalties. Murder in the first and second degree require the State to prove malice aforethought, while manslaughter does not.

Murder in the First Degree

A murder with malice aforethought that is:

  1. Perpetrated by—
    1. Poison;
    2. “Lying in Wait”
    3. Other willful, deliberate, malicious, and pre-mediated means; or
  2. Perpetrated during the commission of the following offenses—
    1. Arson;
    2. Sexual Assault (to include rape);
    3. Child Molestation;
    4. Burglary;
    5. Breaking and Entering;
    6. Robbery;
    7. Kidnapping;
    8. Felony manufacture, sale, or delivery of a controlled substance; or
    9. Felony against a law enforcement officer, special assistance, or attorney general in the performance of his or her duty.

Penalties for Murder in the First Degree

Every person guilty of murder in the first degree shall be imprisoned for life and if ordered by the court that person shall not be eligible for parole from imprisonment.

Murder in the Second Degree

A murder with malice aforethought that does not fit into murder in the first degree is murder in the second degree.

Penalties for Murder in the Second Degree

Every person guilty of murder in the second degree shall be imprisoned for not less than ten (10) years and may be imprisoned for life.


A murder absent malice aforethought is considered manslaughter.

Penalties for Manslaughter

Every person who shall commit manslaughter shall be imprisoned not exceeding thirty (30) years.

Contact a Rhode Island Homicide Attorney Today

If you or a family member has been charged with murder in the first or second degree, manslaughter, felony assault, or any other serious felony, please allow The Law Offices of Stefanie A. Murphy to guide you through the legal process.

For more information, contact Attorney Stefanie A. Murphy, Esq. for a free phone consultation at (401) 316-9423.