There is a controversial criminal case out of Danville, Illinois this month where Reggie Haywood, 30, has been charged with first-degree murder stemming from a house invasion. The charge is not strange but the underlying facts are. The person “murdered” was the alleged accomplice of Haywood and he was shot not be Haywood but the homeowner.
The home invasion occurred on January 19 when a group of men broke into the house wearing ski masks and carrying guns. The homeowner resisted and fired multiple shots at the intruders. He hit and killed Jordan Valdez-Parrish, 29.
Police arrested Haywood and charged him with first degree murder, home invasion, and armed robbery.
Here is the provision:
§ 9-1. First degree murder; death penalties; exceptions; separate hearings; proof; findings; appellate procedures; reversals.
(a) A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits first degree murder if, in performing the acts which cause the death:
(1) he either intends to kill or do great bodily harm to that individual or another, or knows that such acts will cause death to that individual or another; or
(2) he knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another; or
(3) he is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than second degree murder.
It is not common for felons to be charged with felony murder when a person is killed in the course of the crime but that person is usually a victim not an accomplice. In reality, Valdez-Parrish was not “murdered.” He was slain in the course of a crime with justification. Yet, we have seen the continued expansion of the scope of murder charges. That has led to concern over the loss of definition in this once narrow crime.
What do you think?