is felony murder different than murder

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    The definition of felony murder varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The classic definition, however, states that someone is guilty of murder if another person dies because any other felony, such as burglary, rape, arson, or mayhem, was committed or attempted. It does not matter whether the murder was intended or unforeseeable, if another person dies during the commission of a crime, it is a felonious murder. The reason behind the rule is to deter people from killing others during the commission of a crime. Courts hope someone who commits a felony, such as robbery, will take care not to harm or kill the victim for fear of being sentenced with a first degree murder or capital murder offense, instead of manslaughter.

    Felony murder can be seen in many different kinds of criminal law cases. For example, if a person steals an unattended car without using any violence, that person has committed a burglary. If that burglar or one of his accomplices unintentionally kills another person during a high-speed car chase, both the burglar and his accomplice will be prosecuted for a felony murder. The person who was not even driving the car could be sentenced with a first degree murder charge, simply because he committed the burglary and someone died.

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