What Is a Homicide Victim?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
A homicide victim's family may encourage prosecutors to ask for the death penalty against the accused murderer.
A homicide victim's family may encourage prosecutors to ask for the death penalty against the accused murderer.

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.

A murder by firearm may or may not have been premeditated.
A murder by firearm may or may not have been premeditated.

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.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • A homicide victim's family may encourage prosecutors to ask for the death penalty against the accused murderer.
      By: Dani Vincek
      A homicide victim's family may encourage prosecutors to ask for the death penalty against the accused murderer.
    • A murder by firearm may or may not have been premeditated.
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      A murder by firearm may or may not have been premeditated.