O'Malley Law Office, P.C. Free Initial Consultation
South Denver: 303-731-0719
North Denver: 303-916-9006
Toll free: 866-365-9351


Murder in the Second Degree or Manslaughter? Police Sometimes Get Charged Too

Two police officers are being charged in the death of a 6-year-old boy. They felt they had justification for shooting into a fleeing suspect's car recently, as part of a criminal investigation into a crime. Whether they knew the boy was present is not clear, but I feel that is unlikely. The two officers have been charged with Second Degree Murder and Attempted Second Degree Murder after firing multiple shots. Police officials have not offered any support for the officers, stating that the department's badge has been tarnished by this incident.

Murder in the Second Degree or Second Degree Murder in Denver

Murder and Homicide are the same crime in Arapahoe and Douglas County. They are set apart in Colorado law as First Degree Murder / Homicide, C.R.S. 18-3-102 and 2nd Degree Murder / Homicide, C.R.S. 18-3-103.

Second Degree Murder is defined as:

A person commits the crime of Murder in the Second Degree if the person knowingly causes the death of a person. Murder in the second degree is a class 2 felony. Murder in the second degree is a class 3 felony where the act causing the death was performed upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a serious and highly provoking act of the intended victim, affecting the defendant sufficiently to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person; but, if between the provocation and the killing there is an interval sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, the killing is a class 2 felony.

Under this definition, the prosecutor's office, known as the District Attorney, will have a difficult time proving their case. "Knowingly causes the death of a person" would mean the officers knew the child was in the car and tried to kill the child. There is no evidence this was the case. I am confident the officers did not know the boy was present. Most officers have the training and the presence of mind to not shoot into a car when a child is present. Two officers abandoning their training on this point is highly unlikely.

Manslaughter is the Better Charge for this Denver Crime

A better charge against these officers would be Manslaughter, with the definition at C.R.S. 18-3-104. A person commits the crime of Manslaughter if:

a) such person recklessly causes the death of another person; or

b) such person intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide.

Manslaughter is a class 4 felony in Jefferson and Adams County, and it carries a possible prison sentence to the Department of Corrections. An important definition accompanying this crime is "Recklessly." "A person acts Recklessly when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will occur or that a circumstance exists." Complicating this definition in the case above is that police officers have a privilege to use deadly force in many circumstances. A jury will be more permissive for police in using deadly force, as here, if they felt they were in danger. Even with the charge of Manslaughter, the DA will be hard pressed to prove his case if the officers had no idea the child was present.

When you are charged with Second Degree Murder or Homicide, you need a criminal defense attorney who cares about you and your future. When you, your family, and your life are on the line, never speak to the police, but keep silent. Then, call us 24 / 7 at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Facing Charges? Get Help Now!


Tell us about your case and one of our experienced attorneys will get back to you promptly.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Case Results:

  • Sexual Assault and Rape charges related to divorce. Acquittal from jury trial. Weld County, Greeley, Colorado.
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, Possession of Child Pornography. Acquittal from jury trial. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Arson of Nursing Home. Dismissed by Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Felony Drug Distribution. Acquittal from jury trial. Boulder County, Boulder, Colorado.
  • Rape and Sexual Assault charges involving divorce and child custody. Acquittal from jury trial. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Burglary and Felony Theft. Dismissed by District Attorney. Arapahoe County, Englewood, Colorado.
  • Theft of Drugs by Nurse. Dismissed by District Attorney. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, Position of Trust. Acquittal from Jury Trial. Adams County, Brighton, Colorado.
  • Domestic Violence. Dismissed by District Attorney. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Violation of Restraining Order. Dismissed by District Attorney. Douglas County, Castle Rock.

24 hour emergency service Same-day jail visits Free initial consultation Reasonable fees Flexible payment plans

Call Toll free: 866-365-9351 South Denver: 303-731-0719 North Denver: 303-916-9006 Email us

FindLaw Network

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.