In Texas there are four ways prosecutors can charge a homicide: murder,
capital murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. Capital murder is
by far the most serious of these charges. In Texas, the prosecution can
seek the death penalty in a capital murder case, and often does.
Capital murder can be charged after a number of
fact situations in Texas. A person can be charged with capital murder for killing a police
officer or firefighter who is in the line of duty and whom the defendant
knows is a police officer or firefighter. Capital murder can also be charged
if the defendant is accused of intentionally killing a person while committing
one of several specific felonies, including kidnapping, burglary, robbery
or aggravated sexual assault.
Murder-for-hire will also result in capital murder charges in Texas. Both
the person who allegedly committed the killing as well as the person who
allegedly hired the killer can be charged.
Several other fact situations can lead to a capital murder charge in Texas.
A person who commits murder while escaping from prison, or attempting
to escape, can face a capital murder charge. A murder committed by a prison
inmate while incarcerated can also be charged as capital murder under
several fact situations. Capital murder is also defined as killing a judge,
or a child under the age of 10.
For a person charged with capital murder in Texas, the potential stakes
cannot be higher. Anyone facing a capital murder charge in Texas needs
to put forth the most aggressive defense they can devise. Whether the
defense is self-defense, mistaken identification, or unintentional injury
that resulted in death, it is critical to prepare thoroughly and fight
the charges doggedly at trial.