General Question

WestRiverrat's avatar

If someone is already legally dead, can you go to jail for killing them?

Asked by WestRiverrat (20012points) July 10th, 2013

I buried my brother in 1991. Now I have a letter from someone claiming to be him demanding a share of my father’s estate. If I have the proof in my hand that he has been legally dead for over 20 years, can I be charged with killing him if he shows up at my door?

I would prefer to let the law handle it, but if he contacts my mother all bets are off.

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9 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Interesting question, though in your scenario is sounds a lot more like identity theft and someone trying to get money out of it.

I do wonder though if I were to fake my own death and then be actually murdered years later what would happen with the whole thing.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you did choose to kill him you wouldn’t be killing your (already dead) brother but a stranger trying for a fast buck.

If you do kill him the law will not be interested in who he claims to be but rather in who he is in reality. Some DNA checks should solve that problem pronto.

And a demand for exactly that (DNA) should stop his spurious claim dead in its tracks. Really no need for you to go risking jail time :)

I doubt they would allow Fluthering from your jail cell and we would miss you around here.

Don’t do anything rash :)

Pandora's avatar

Oh, do agree to meet with him and be sure to bring the police. I’m sure they would be interested in defrauding, and identity theft. Especially if the amount of money he is trying to get is large. Have him come to the house so he won’t know the cops are there till he is in the door.

trailsillustrated's avatar

It’s a scam – what @Pandora said.

marinelife's avatar

If you kill him, you will be charged with murder. You will either have killed an imposter or your brother was not actually dead.

I would agree to meet with him at an attorney’s office.

jca's avatar

I recommend not having him come to your house and if you do tell him to come to your house and tell the cops you want them there, they’re not likely to be willing to waste time staying around for some dog and pony show unless a crime is committed first. I would tell him to meet you at the police department, where it won’t inconvenience the cops and if he is in any way a fraud, he will be unwilling to show up there.

rojo's avatar

I thought this was another zombie question

I would be leery of killing someone no matter who they were or claimed they were.

You do need to be sure your mom is well informed or, if she is somewhat impaired by age, take precautions. I know she knows her son is dead but hope springs eternal and the older we get the more surreal our life becomes, at least in our minds.

rory's avatar

You’ll be charged with killing whoever the guy ACTUALLY is.

But I wouldn’t worry about it. After my grandfather died, we got some weird calls like that. People read old obituaries and think they can take advantage of folks. I’d alert the police, and deadbolt your door.

Ron_C's avatar

Unfortunately you can’t kill this scam artist. You can, invite him over for his pay-off and scramble his brains a bit before you call the police.

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