Research has always been a favorite part of my writing experience. This was especially true for my newest Pepper Bibeau mystery, Island Cruise Homicide. (No, the research did not include the act of homicide on any level.) But while working as a police reservist and part time peace officer in Minnesota some years ago, I did learn interesting facts about the degrees of homicide.
Whether the cause of death is murder, or manslaughter – which is murder without the pre-meditation part – the legal definition is Homicide.
The act of manslaughter is further divided into two categories and four degrees. The term homicide also covers actions described as excusable homicide, in cases of self-defense; and justifiable homicide, as in acts of war.
The maximum penalty for the homicidal act of premeditated murder is “an eye for an eye.” Legally, the death penalty has been carried out by use of various methods, including the guillotine, electric chair, rope, and lethal injection. Debate over the morality and effectiveness of beheading, electrocution, hanging, and administration of fast-acting drugs or chemicals will probably continue until the last being capable of ratiocination* remains in power.
The category, level, or distinction of a homicide is often determined by a multitude of factors not directly related to the definition of the word. A familiar adage is: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
Here’s the sixty-four dollar question: If you bludgeon to death someone – who you know has a very bad temper but insults you anyway – is it considered an act of self-defense, manslaughter, or premeditated murder?
*ratiocinate: form judgments by a process of logic; reason.
A relaxing family cruise around the Hawaiian Islands is not what is in store for Pepper. Along with the fun of hiking, biking, snorkeling, and many other energetic activities, she contends with the mysterious disappearance of a wizened old surfer, a case of stolen surfboards, an end to a career - and a corpse.
Available now on Amazon in eBook and Paperback. https://amzn.to/2JuYg20