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Punishment If a Murder Occurs During a Rape

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jul 10, 2020

A murder and rape situation is probably one of the most serious crimes anybody could face in Los Angeles, California, or anywhere in the nation.  In California, in particular, technically, that person would be looking at the death penalty.

The felony murder rule would set up that situation to murder even if the defendant argued that I wasn't trying to kill the person, but they just died during the rape. California Penal Code 261 defines the crime of rape.

Felony Murder Rule in California

When you commit such a severe felony, the law has something called the felony-murder rule. It means that rape is such a severe felony that everyone perceives and foreseeable death could occur during that.

If death does occur, you could be charged with first-degree murder and be looking at 25 to life.  You could be looking at life without the possibility of parole.  You could also be looking at the death penalty.

As I make this post, the Governor of California has put a moratorium on all death penalty cases.  So, there's a whole bunch of people sitting on death row right now with death sentences, but the Governor has stopped all death sentences.

The California voters have voted numerous times for the death penalty, yet the Governor has ignored that and stopped all death sentences.  But still, technically, if you are committing a sex offense like rape and you kill somebody in the process, you're looking at the death penalty. Murder is defined under California Penal Code 187.

You could be sentenced to death, and it's just going to be a matter of whether or not eventually they're going to start using the death penalty again.

Life Without the Possibility of Parole

So, most of the time, sex crimes that result in murder in Los Angeles, California, will be prosecuted in a very viscous manner.  Not all of the time, but most of the time, you're going to need to get ready for a jury trial because the prosecutors will offer you nothing.

They may offer life without the possibility of parole.  They may offer 25 to life or worse.  In other words, they're going to attach a life sentence on the back of whatever they offer you because of the severe nature of the charges.

So, most offenders take the position; I might as well fight the case because that sentence is the worst sentence I could get, and even the death penalty — especially in California where it's not being imposed — if that's what you risk, a lot of people may or may not decide to fight the case.

You also have to assess the strength of the case.  If it's a sex crime and death occurs, first you have o prove that there was a sex crime and got to prove that you're the one that perpetrated it, and depending on the facts and circumstances, there may be some other things that the prosecutor needs to prove and the person may have a defense in a case.

Defending Rape Charges in California

So, if you or a loved one is charged with a murder related to a sex offense and you're looking for a good idea who has handled these types of matters, you've come to the right place.

The marbles are on the line because the highest penalty known to man is available to the prosecutor and judge in these particular cases. Often, the judge doesn't have authority in these sex/crime murder cases in Los Angeles to undercut the prosecutors.

They can't do anything sentencing-wise until the person is convicted, and then a lot of times, the judges' hands are tied if the person gets convicted and the jury decides that they deserve the death penalty; that's what the judge is going to have to sentence the person to.

The prosecutors in these cases have a lot of power at what they charge, and they've got the power in what they charge, and they've got the power in what they offer to settle the case.  As I've indicated, they really won't provide anything meaningful to resolve an issue many times.

Review of Mitigating Circumstances

Now, suppose you've got mitigating circumstances or a situation where you might have a defense. In that case, the prosecutors have to consider those things in deciding how to deal with a particular topic.

Having an experienced defense attorney who has handled these cases knows how to deal with the prosecutors in Los Angeles county when it comes to sex/murder is crucial.  It's all-important.

So, if you or a loved one is facing these types of charges, you're going to have to get somebody that has experience with this.  I've been doing this now for 26 years.  I've handled thousands of sex-related offenses.

I've handled numerous murder cases throughout the years in all the courts in Los Angeles County, and I know what it takes to win the case if there's evidence available to fight the case.

I know what it takes to mitigate the case. If we have a situation where they have the evidence to prove the case, we will need to try to work out a resolution so the person.

California Rape Defense Lawyer 

Number one can avoid a death sentence, and number two, get out of prison at some point and get some determinative sentence when they know when they're going to get out.  This is not quickly done because of the nature of these types of offenses or how prosecutors handle these types of crimes.

So, if you've got a loved one in trouble and you need help, please check out my reviews.  Check out some of the videos that I've put together and some of the books that I've written so you can get a flavor for who I am and how hard I work for my clients.

Then set up a face-to-face consultation.  We'll talk about everything and see what I can do to help you and your loved one.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

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