A homicide victim is a person who has been a victim of murder. There are various types of homicide, and a person is referred to as a homicide victim no matter which type he suffered. For example, a person may be described as a homicide victim if he is killed in an act described as first or second-degree murder as well as if he is the victim of manslaughter. Interestingly, human euthanasia is illegal in many jurisdictions, and as a result, an individual who assists another party with committing suicide or performs a mercy killing may be charged with homicide.
One situation in which an individual is a victim of homicide is if he is killed in an act that is considered first-degree murder. In most places, first-degree murder occurs when a party kills another person on purpose and after planning. In many places, a first-degree murder charge is the most serious murder charge a person may face. It may carry the most serious penalties, and in some cases, the death penalty.
Second-degree murder is another type of homicide. This type of murder occurs when a person intentionally kills his victim, but did not plan the crime in advance. Often, a charge of second-degree murder carries penalties that are less severe than those for first-degree murder. This does not, however, mean that a convicted murderer will receive a light sentence. In some cases, a person may receive life in prison for a second-degree murder charge. Often, a person will face more severe penalties if the homicide victim was a police officer or another type of public servant.
A homicide victim’s death may also occur as the result of manslaughter. Manslaughter occurs when a party takes the life of another without meaning to and without premeditation. There are two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary occurs when a person is provoked into an altercation that ends in the death of another person. Involuntary manslaughter occurs as the result of negligence. Manslaughter usually carries less-severe penalties than first or second-degree murder.
Interestingly, a person who dies as the result of an assisted suicide may be called a homicide victim in some jurisdictions. The euthanasia of human beings is illegal in many places, and as such, a person who is found guilty of assisting someone with committing suicide may receive a prison sentence. Depending on the jurisdiction, however, his sentence may be shorter than those for first and second-degree murder and manslaughter.