Okmulgee Lawyer BlogConsequences for Second-Degree Murder in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Murder is one of the most heinous crimes committed. The taking of another life is treated seriously in all jurisdictions. Yet, not all homicides are murder. So when is a homicide murder, and what separates first- and second-degree murder in Oklahoma?

What is Second-Degree Murder in Okmulgee?

Consequences for second-degree murder in Okmulgee, Oklahoma lawyerIn Oklahoma, a homicide is deemed to be murder in the second degree when the killing is done by an act that is imminently dangerous to another person. The killer may show a “depraved mind” or a careless disregard or indifference for human life. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 701.8

“Depraved mind” can be shown when a person engages in imminently dangerous conduct with a reckless disregard for, and in total indifference to, the life and safety of another person.

A depraved mind can be evil or corrupt, but it does not equate the premeditation that is the hallmark of first-degree murder.

Second-degree murder can also be charged when the killing occurs during the commission of a felony.

Second-Degree Murder: Elements of the Crime

Every element of a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for there to be a conviction. Lacking sufficient proof often leads to a dismissal or plea bargain for a lesser offense.

The elements of second-degree murder are:

  • the death of a person;
  • caused by imminently dangerous conduct;
  • of the defendant;
  • the conduct evinced a depraved mind in extreme disregard of human life; and
  • the conduct is not done with the intention of taking the life of any particular individual. (OUJI-CR 4-91)

Facts that disprove any required element of the crime constitute a defense to the crime.

Imminent Danger

Imminently dangerous conduct is conduct which a reasonable person would consider to be immediate and have a very high degree of risk of death to another person. Shooting a gun into a crowd of people is an immediate threat and carries a high degree of likelihood that another person will be injured or killed. There is no premeditation in the act, just a reckless disregard for the life and safety of others.

Absence of Premeditation

First-degree murder requires an intent to murder, or what is often called “malice aforethought.” This is premeditation. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 701.7

Second-degree murder requires that the death occur without premeditation — the death occurs without intent.


The statutory penalty for second-degree murder in Oklahoma is from 10 years to life in prison. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 701.9

In addition, murder is one of the crimes enumerated in the 85% Rule in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 13.1

Under this rule, if sentenced, you must serve at least 85 percent of your sentenced time.

Defenses To Second-Degree Murder

Innocence is always a defense as is self-defense. If the killing occurs in self-defense, the killing is justified. Facts are critical in a self-defense claim.

Murder charges carry stiff penalties in Oklahoma. If you are facing charges for second-degree murder, don’t go it alone. Hire an experienced Okmulgee criminal law attorney.

Call for a Free Consultation With An Experienced Okmulgee Criminal Attorney

Call (918) 756-9600 or (888) Wirth-Law now for a free consultation with an Okmulgee, Oklahoma, lawyer at the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee. Or, enter your legal question or concern in the firm at the top right of this page, and one of our attorneys will email or call you.

Finding the right Okmulgee lawyer for you can be difficult. Call the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee at (918) 756-9600 and let us demonstrate why Wirth Law is the firm for you.

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