Murder is when one person kills another person on purpose. If a person does something that makes someone else die, without the intent of killing, it is homicide and may be manslaughter. An accident caused by carelessness may be negligent homicide. Sometimes, a death caused by someone else may not be a crime, for example killing in self-defense.

A person who commits murder is called a murderer. The legal definition of "murder" and "manslaughter" may be different in different countries, and is very much argued on: for example, killing in war is not usually called "murder" by those who fight in the war. Killing in self defense (if people being attacked with death seeming imminent kill the attacker, or someone kills an intruder who has burglarized their dwelling) is usually not "murder", but sometimes manslaughter. Many countries do not even have manslaughter as a legal concept, and only have murder; the countries that do not have manslaughter charge with murder instead. In fact, the United States did not have manslaughter on the books until the 20th century. England was the first country to indoctrinate manslaughter, and the United States was second.


Most common circumstances for murder in the United States (1999)

A total of 12,658 murders were reported in 1999 in the U.S., including 1,903 without a specified reason, and 3,779 for which the reasons were unknown.

  1. Argument (unspecified) (3,391)
  2. Robbery (1,010)
  3. Juvenile gang killing (579)
  4. Contravention of narcotic drug laws (564)
  5. Argument over money or property (211)
  6. Brawl due to influence of alcohol (187)
  7. Romantic triangle (133)
  8. Gangland killing (116)
  9. Brawl due to influence of narcotics (111)
  10. Burglary (79)

Worst cities for murder in the United States (1999)

New York's status as the murder capital of the world improved during the 1990s. What follows are the number of murders for 1999:

  1. New York, New York (671)
  2. Chicago, Illinois (642)
  3. Los Angeles, California (425)
  4. Detroit, Michigan (415)
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (292)
  6. Houston, Texas (241)
  7. Washington, D.C. (241)
  8. Dallas, Texas (191)
  9. New Orleans, Louisiana (158)
  10. Atlanta, Georgia (143)

Attempted murder

Attempted murder is a crime. Attempted murder, or "attempt murder" in common law countries, also sometimes called "murder attempt", is when someone tries to kill another person.[1] Just planning a murder is not enough. The act must come close to, but does not actually take the life of the other person.[1]

It was punishable by death and the execution was carried out in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, Ancient Greece, The Roman Empire, and of course, China, which is by far the most populated country in the world, to this day. As with murder, attempted murder is a mortal sin to the Catholic Church.

The Roman Empire carried out about ten thousand executions, most if not all beheadings, during its time, and there is no doubt that many of these were those convicted of attempted murder.


"Assassination" is a word which means murdering a prominent person for a reason. The word is most used when the person who was killed was a celebrity or was a person involved in politics. The people who carry out assassinations are called "assassins" or "Hit-men". An assassin may murder someone for political reasons, for money, or for other reasons, such as favors owed and revenge. Assassination is the same as murder and is mortal sin to the Catholic Church.

The word "Assassin" comes from Hashishin,[2] a Muslim group that was active in the Middle East from the 8th to the 14th centuries. This secret society killed people for political and religious reasons.[3] It is thought that the assassins were under the influence of hashish and opium during their killings or during their training. The word assassin comes from either hashashim, the influence of the drugs, or hassansin, after their leader, Hassan-i Sabbah.


A murder–suicide is when a person kills someone else (murder), and then they kill themselves (suicide).

No one is tracking the number of murder–suicides in the United States. However, medical studies estimate between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths per year in the United States are murder-suicides.[4]

Related pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Costa; Mark Duffy, Australian HIV/AIDS Legal Guide (Sydney: Federation Press, 1991), p. 48
  2. American Speech - McCarthy, Kevin M. Volume 48, pp. 77-83
  3. Secret Societies Handbook, Michael Bradley, Cassell Illustrated, 2005. ISBN 978-1844034161
  4. American Roulette: Murder–Suicide in the United States. Violence Policy Center

Categories: Types of crime | Murders | Terrorist attacks

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