Felony murder is the killing that occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony. The person responsible for the felony can be charged with murder. Intending to kill is not necessary for felony murder, but a person must intend to commit the felony.
A felony murder cannot be charged if all the elements of the felony are included in the elements of murder under the merger doctrine. Under the merger doctrine, if the underlying felony merges with the killing, the felony cannot constitute felony murder.
In California, California Penal Code § 189 classifies a homicide as first degree felony murder when it is a murder committed during the commission of the following felonies: 1) arson, 2) rape, 3) carjacking, 4) robbery, 5) burglary, 6) mayhem, 7) kidnapping, 8) train wrecking, 9) sodomy, 10) lewd or lascivious acts on a child or dependent person, 11) oral copulation, or 12) forcible sexual penetration.
An effective defense can protect a person against a Felony Murder charge.
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