The laws regarding murder in North Carolina are by and large clear. However, people are often surprised to learn about the charge of felony murder through accomplice liability. A felony murder charge can be brought against someone who is involved in the commission of a felony that results in another person’s death. This applies even if murder was not the intent or if the person charged did not directly kill someone.
Accomplice liability came in play during the case of an Alabama man who was charged with felony murder due to his role in a burglary. During the commission of the burglary, police shot and killed one of the man’s accomplices. The court’s guilty verdict in April 2018 stemmed from the theory that everyone involved in the burglary was guilty of the homicide because their actions led to the incident occurring in the first place.
In order to prove felony murder in court, however, the prosecution typically has to show that the defendant had knowledge that what he or she was doing was a felony and that his or her actions could potentially result in death. This may be applied when someone supplies illegal drugs to a person who later dies as a result.
Federal law also recognizes felony murder as a crime, and the penalties that could be assessed if a conviction is obtained can be severe, including decades in prison. People who are facing these types of federal charges might find it advisable to meet with a federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that a strategy to combat the allegations can be constructed.