Murder in the first degree is the charge associated with the harshest penalties, including the possibility of the death penalty. Generally, in order to be found guilty of first-degree murder, the state must show that the murder was committed with “malice aforethought,” meaning that the murder was carried out with planning and a clear intention to take the life of another human being. Similarly, there are a few other circumstances in which a prosecutor has the possibility of bringing the charge of first-degree murder, including:
- Causing the death of another individual while in the commission of certain violent felonies
- Causing the death of a child due to malicious abuse
- Causing the death of an on-duty law enforcement officer.
The punishment for first-degree murder include the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
For additional information, see OK ST T. 21 § 701.7.