Missouri man accused of murder in girlfriend's overdose death

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Authorities have arrested a man who has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the heroin overdose death of his girlfriend. Police claim that the Missouri supplied drugs to his girlfriend — those allegations are apparently being used in the state’s theory that the man murdered the woman.

Police claim that the man overdosed on April 17 in his girlfriend’s condominium in Pacific, Missouri. The woman and her son reportedly revived the boyfriend. Prosecutors claim that after reviving her boyfriend, the woman took another dose of heroin for herself, and was found dead the next morning. The boyfriend is accused of drug distribution and second-degree murder.

Any murder accusation is a serious matter. Most people probably understand that murder is a felony-level offense. But, Missouri law allows prosecutors to seek what is called in legalese a “felony murder” charge. Under Missouri law, a so-called “felony murder” is charged as a second-degree murder offense.

The charge may involve allegations that a person has died as a result of a defendant’s alleged commission of some other felony. The law extends to attempted felonies, or if the alleged death of the person occurs during the immediate flight from the alleged underlying felony.

The charge essentially requires some allegations that piggyback upon some other offense. Any criminal charge involves complex analysis of facts. But, when the state alleges that a person committed a felony murder, the state must prove the underlying offense beyond a reasonable doubt—as well as linking the death to the alleged underlying offense.

Obviously, the complexities rise for a person accused of the crime. A Columbia, Missouri, criminal defense lawyer can help a person accused of such an offense in analyzing the situation and developing a defense strategy to protect individual rights.

Source: Eureka-Wildwood Patch, “Pacific Man Charged with Murder in Connection to Fatal Overdose,” Frank Johnson, July 11, 2013; Missouri Revised Statutes section 565.021

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