Oklahoma Woman Being Held on Murder Charges for Parade Crash

murder, criminal charges, Illinois criminal defense attorneyA homecoming celebration turned tragic this past weekend when a car plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing four and injuring dozens. Three adults and a two-year-old child were killed when the vehicle driven by a 25-year-old woman suddenly crashed into a throng of people watching the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade on Saturday in Stillwater. The driver was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and was held over the weekend on four counts of second-degree murder. She is expected to appear in court this week for arraignment.

Murder Charges in Illinois

As the OSU community seeks to heal following the tragedy, the case may serve to highlight some important facets of criminal law here in Illinois. Charges for murder in Illinois can be brought against a defendant in the first or second degree. First degree murder is committed when a person kills another:

  • With intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm;
  • With knowledge that the action creates the strong possibility of death or great bodily harm; or
  • In the process of attempting or committing another forcible felony.

First degree murder is punishable by a minimum of a 20-year prison sentence, with a maximum sentence of 60 years. Aggravating factors may extend the sentence to lifetime imprisonment.

Second Degree Murder

Under Illinois law, a second degree murder is committed under similar circumstances to first degree murder, but with one of two mitigating factors:

  • The perpetrator was “acting under a sudden and intense passion” as the result of provocation by the murder victim or another party whom the offender tried to kill, killing the victim in the process; or
  • When the killing occurred, the offender believed that the killing was justified, but the belief is shown to be unreasonable.

Second degree murder is a Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison or more, depending upon aggravating factors.

It is difficult to say for sure whether the circumstances of the OSU parade incident would qualify as second degree murder in Illinois. Whatever her intentions were, however, the driver of the vehicle must answer for her actions in court.

Get Help in Difficult Situations

If circumstances beyond your control have led to criminal charges against you for murder or any other type of violent crime, contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. No matter how hopeless your case may seem, you can rely on Attorney Hal Garfinkel to provide responsible, trustworthy legal counsel. Call 312-270-0999 to schedule a free consultation today and get the representation you need to help protect your future.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/25/us/oklahoma-car-into-crowd/index.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+9&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=11100000&SeqEnd=12300000

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