Who can answer a legal question for me?
This is probably one of those “Well…duh!” questions but I admit to being less than informed in legal matters.
Anyway, after watching Legally Blonde I was left wondering what the exact charges would be for someone who intends to kill one person in cold blood but accidentally kills someone else instead.
This is the scenario in a nutshell: Reese Witherspoon’s character gets a witness to confess on the stand to shooting her father. She had meant to shoot her stepmother (who was on trial for murdering her husband) but accidentally shot and killed her father instead. After the confession the judge orders her to be taken into custody where she is to be charged for the murder of her father.
My question is this:
Since the killer never intended to kill her victim wouldn’t she be charged with a lesser degree of murder? And since she was really trying to kill her stepmother would she additionally be charged with attempted murder? Or because she pulled the trigger with malice aforethought ultimately killing someone, would she be charged with murder in the first degree regardless of whom the victim was?