Social Question

poisonedantidote's avatar

What should be the penalty for this action?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21675points) November 18th, 2009

You plan on killing someone, you go in to their house at night armed with a knife. you stand over their bed, stab them in the heart and leave.

however, an autopsy will later show that you killed no one. your victim had already died in their sleep from a massive brain hemorrhage. technically all you did was stab a corpse.

how long should you go to jail?

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9 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

For the usual sentence for the crime of which you are convicted. That may be mutilating a corpse plus breaking and entering, for example. There are then guidelines for punishment.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I think they should be trialed for attempted murder as the intent was still there even if circumstances made the actions pointless. I’m not sure how long the average sentence for this is though.

jrpowell's avatar

An aside. Would the person bleed in this situation? I would think that they wouldn’t since the heart isn’t pumping blood. Maybe I need to stop watching Dexter.

Harp's avatar

There is actual precedent for this scenario: People v. Dlagash (1977), in which a man shot a corpse, believing him to be alive. The court found him guilty of attempted murder. The court’s reasoning was that it was the perpetrator’s belief that mattered, not the factual circumstance.

The same reasoning is the basis for “sting” operations. If law enforcement can lead a person to believe that he’s about to blow up a building even though the bomb’s a fake, they can get a conviction.

DrBill's avatar

Attempted Murder 20 to Life

fundevogel's avatar

Depends on how good his lawyer is.

MrItty's avatar

I agree, it’s attempted murder. You tried to kill someone. The only reason you failed is that the person was already dead. That doesn’t negate your attempt to commit murder.

CMaz's avatar

I would plea that I knew that they were dead.

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