Sevierville Criminal Defense Attorneys Handling Complicated Capital Murder Cases
Fighting for the rights of clients from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee
A murder charge is the most serious accusation you can face in the Tennessee court of law. The results of a conviction can range from a lengthy incarceration in prison to loss of your life. The most serious of these charges is capital murder, which can lead to capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty. The trial process for a capital murder case in Tennessee is lengthy and challenging. When faced with these serous charges, rely on an experienced Sevierville criminal defense attorney at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC to defend your rights. We have more than 20 years of experience represent clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. Trust us to handle your capital murder case.
Murder classifications in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee generally recognizes several classifications of murder charges. The driving force behind these categories is the intent of the accused. These classifications are:
- First degree murder. These are the most severely punished types of killings. They are done intentionally, either as a premeditated homicide or as the consequence of another felony crime.
- Second degree murder. This classification covers killings that are committed intentionally, but without any premeditation or aforethought.
- Voluntary manslaughter. Killings done in the heat of sudden passion generally fall under this category.
- Involuntary manslaughter. Accidental killings brought on by an individual’s reckless or grossly negligent actions fall under this category.
Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your charges, and what the potential consequences of a conviction may be.
A capital murder case on trial
Capital murder trials within the state of Tennessee consist of two major processes. The first is the trial phase, where the state must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state is unsuccessful, the defendant is found “not guilty,” and the case concludes. This is the ultimate goal of our experienced criminal defense attorneys when defending your capital murder case.
In situations where the trial results in a “guilty” conviction, the case moves forward into the sentencing phase. Each area has different rules. For example, in the Pigeon Forge courts, the sentence of capital punishment is only given when aggravating factors are proven. This means that the state must prove that you acted in a particularly malicious manner. Some of the factors that the state may present in an attempt to secure a capital punishment sentence include:
- Intense cruelty or torture committed during the killing
- A killing committed for profit
- The commission of a felony that resulted in the death
- The victim was particularly vulnerable, due to age or health
- The criminal history of the defendant
- Multiple killings by the defendant
The state must also prove any aggravating factors beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled capital murder lawyer will work to prevent that from happening.
Capital felony murder charges in Tennessee
In Tennessee, “felony murder” applies when a killing occurs during the commission of a felony. For example, if an individual participates in a bank robbery and a teller is killed in the process, the participants may be charged with a felony murder. To prove felony murder, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused participated in the felony that led to the killing. Even if the defendant did not specifically commit the murder, his participation in the felony is sufficient enough for conviction and a possible capital punishment sentence. The significant penalties of a felony murder conviction make it vitally important that you secure the services of a seasoned Sevierville criminal defense lawyer at our firm.
Defending a capital murder charge
Just as the prosecution can present additional factors to secure a capital punishment sentence, your defense attorney can also present factors to mitigate the potential sentence. Some factors that may work in your favor include:
- Reasonable belief of justification for the killing
- Minor participation in a killing committed by another
- Lack of adequate capacity to understand the wrongfulness of the conduct
- Consent of the victim
Trust our dedicated attorneys to develop a defense that will benefit your case.
Learn more about homicide and murder charges in Sevier County
Secure an aggressive defense against a capital murder charge in Tennessee courts
The Sevierville homicide and murder defense attorneys at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC know that a capital murder charge changes your entire life, as well as the lives of your family. We appreciate the opportunity to defend you and aggressively advocate on your behalf. Please call 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment. Our criminal defense attorneys are proud to serve clients in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and throughout Tennessee.