Tennessee law recognizes different levels of crimes involving the killing of another, including first-degree murder. First-degree murder in Tennessee is the most serious murder charge a person can face. There are three types of first-degree murder: premeditated killings, felony murders and murders involving a bomb.

A premeditated killing is one in which a person intended to kill another person. Sometimes this means a careful plan to murder was formed, but even a brief intention to kill before committing the murder can constitute first-degree murder.

A felony murder is one in which a person kills another while committing or trying to commit one of several felony crimes. Some of these crimes include the following:

  • First-degree murder
  • Terrorism
  • Arson
  • Rape
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated child abuse

Finally, murders committed by using a bomb are also considered first-degree murders. Even if a person does not intend for the bomb to kill anyone, simply intending to explode the device is enough for a person to be charged with first-degree murder if the explosion kills someone.

First-degree murder can result in a life sentence with or without the possibility of parole or even the death penalty in certain circumstances. Thus, it is important to formulate a strong defense if you are facing first-degree murder charges. However, there are defenses that can be used to mitigate the penalties or prove innocence. For example, you may have an alibi showing you were not present when and where the crime occurred, or you may have acted in self-defense. Attorneys in Memphis understand how to use these defenses and may be a useful resource.