A Roseville woman is accused of having others beat her live-in boyfriend and failing to seek medical treatment, resulting in his death according to an article in the Oakland Press titled, “Three charged in beating death: Roseville man allegedly unconscious for 19 hours at girlfriend’s home.” The preliminary examination is scheduled for April 20th in the 38th District Court, which is located in the City of Roseville.
Initially, the suspects, all from Macomb County, had been charged with assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. However, the charges were enhanced to Second-Degree Murder following the death of the victim. Michigan’s homicide laws and maximum penalties are as follows:
First Degree Murder: Mandatory life
Second Degree Murder: Life or any term of years
Manslaughter: 15 years
Negligent Homicide: 2 years
Manslaughter is broken down into 2 categories, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter involves the intentional killing with circumstances involving provocation and excited passions but without lawful justification (reducing it from murder). Involuntary manslaughter involves an act by a person against another with an intent to injure or doing some act in a grossly negligent manner which causes death. The defense attorney will undoubtedly ask the court to instruct the jury on the lesser offense of manslaughter, a 15 year felony, in an effort to avoid a second degree murder conviction which can carry up to life in prison.
In cases where a victim of an assault does not die immediately, the defense may argue that the defendant did not cause the death. Where causation is at issue, the court may consider instructing the jury on possible assault charges. The range of assault crimes and maximum penalties in Michigan are as follows:
Attempted Murder, Life
Assault With Intent to Murder, Life Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm, 10 years Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, 4 years Aggravated Assault, 1 year (misdemeanor)
Assault and Battery, 90 days (misdemeanor)
Since the initial attack did result in an immediate death, the issue of causation is likely to be raised in this particular case. In addition, the defense may try to introduce evidence which mitigates the charge of second degree murder to manslaughter.