Georgia law provides that a person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being. Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. Implied malice is a term which has been defined to mean conduct exhibiting a reckless disregard for human life. Specifically, the Supreme Court of Georgia has held that extremely negligent conduct, which creates what a reasonable man would realize to be not only an unjustifiable but also a very high degree of risk of death or serious bodily injury to another or to others – though unaccompanied by any intent to kill or do serious bodily injury – and which actually causes the death of another, may constitute murder. Reckless disregard for human life may be the equivalent of a specific intent to kill. Evidence that the defendant acted in reckless disregard for human life is, for purposes of demonstrating his guilt of the crime of malice murder, as equally probative as evidence that he acted with a specific intent to kill. So, when does the charge become attempt? A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he performs any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime. Intentionally shooting someone can be a substantial step toward the commission of the crime of murder.
For attempted murder, the court will look to your prior intentional acts of violence against the alleged victim. Similarly, if you do not have prior difficulties with the alleged victim, this lack of evidence may support a claim the act was not intentional.
In a Georgia case of Mills v. State, the Supreme Court held in 2010 the evidence supported a finding of both express and implied malice. The defendant had threatened to kill the victim in the past if he caught her cheating on him and had cut her while holding a knife to her throat. The defendant again threatened to kill the victim just hours before the shooting. Later, while high and drunk, the defendant complained that the victim had another man coming to their residence too frequently, and, to show he was serious, the defendant climbed into bed with the victim holding a loaded 9mm handgun with his finger on the trigger, pointed the gun at her, and shot her in the head while her two-year-old son was on the bed next to her. He then failed to seek medical aid and instead sought to dispose of the murder weapon. This evidence was sufficient to show from the external circumstances that the defendant caused the victim’s death with deliberate intention, thereby establishing express malice. In addition, there was no “considerable provocation” for the shooting even under the defendant’s own version of events, and a rational jury could find that the circumstances surrounding the killing showed that the defendant had an abandoned and malignant heart, thereby establishing implied malice.
Have you been charged with attempted murder in Georgia please call our office 24/7 at 404-581-0999. We will sit down with you and fully discuss your case and what to expect in court. There is no charge for the initial consultation. You will only retain us if you feel we are the best law firm to represent you. It is your case and your life so you need to hire the lawyer that you feel gives you the best chance to win.