Classification of Homicides in Nevada
Jeremiah Diaz Bean, 25, was arrested in May in Lyon County after the burglary of a home in the community of Fernley turned into a killing spree in which five people lost their lives. After shooting the two homeowners, he drove off with their car and stopped near Reno, where he killed another person. He then returned to Fernley and entered another home, killing the homeowner and her friend. Bean has been charged with open murder in relation to the five deaths, as well as burglary, robbery and grand larceny charges.
Under Nevada law, murder is defined as the willful taking of life with premeditation and malice aforethought. This means that you can be charged with murder if you intentionally kill another person, either where there is external proof of your intention or where there was no obvious provocation. Murder charges are split into first and second degree murder. You can be charged with first degree murder if you kill another person when:
- Using poison or other kinds of deliberate and premeditated killing
- Carrying out certain serious felonies, such as sexual assault, kidnapping, arson or burglary
- Preventing the arrest or causing the escape from custody of any person
- Carrying out an act of terrorism
You can also be charged with first degree murder if you are on school premises, with the intention of causing risk of harm to more than one person.
If you are convicted of a first degree murder offense, you could face life imprisonment with no possibility of parole or, in the case of aggravating circumstances, the death penalty.
Second degree murder applies to all murder convictions that do not qualify as first degree murder. In Nevada, if you have been arrested on suspicion of murder, you will be charged with open murder. This means that the decision as to whether the murder should be classified as first or second degree is made by the jury if you are found guilty. If you are convicted of second degree murder, you face a minimum sentence of 25 years in a state prison facility, with the possibility of parole after 10 years.
If you are facing a murder charge, be sure to get an aggressive Nevada homicide attorney to help you get the charge reduced or dismissed.