Premeditated Killing in Florida
For a charge of first degree murder based on a premeditated killing, the prosecutor must show the defendant’s specific intent to kill. The prosecutor often must establish an advance plan or design formed to carry out the homicide. To establish premeditation, the prosecutor may need to present evidence about the defendant’s activities or steps taken to prepare for the killing.
Florida requires the prosecution of “felony murder,” which also leads to a first degree murder charge, when the defendant commits homicide while during the commission of a specified felony or an attempt to carry out a felony. State laws include a list of felonies that qualify a homicide as first degree murder. These felonies include burglary, home-invasion robbery, kidnapping, sexual battery, and many other offenses, including the murder of another person. While the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to participate in the underlying felony, the state can proceed with the charge even if the defendant did not personally perform the killing.
Homicide Caused by Drug Dealing and Related Crimes
Lastly, Florida state laws specify first degree murder for a homicide caused by drug dealing and the unlawful distribution of controlled substances. The drug-related offenses must involve controlled substances specified by state law, including cocaine and opium. For example, if a victim dies from a drug overdose, the state might try to prosecute the drug distributor on a charge of first degree murder.