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Oklahoma - First degree murder
§21-701.7, §21-701.9, §21 701.11, and §21-701.12


§21-701.7. Murder in the first degree.

A. A person commits murder in the first degree when that person unlawfully and with malice aforethought causes the death of another human being. Malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a human being, which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof.

B. A person also commits the crime of murder in the first degree, regardless of malice, when that person or any other person takes the life of a human being during, or if the death of a human being results from, the commission or attempted commission of murder of another person, shooting or discharge of a firearm or crossbow with intent to kill, intentional discharge of a firearm or other deadly weapon into any dwelling or building as provided in Section 1289.17A of this title, forcible rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, escape from lawful custody, eluding an officer, first degree burglary, first degree arson, unlawful distributing or dispensing of controlled dangerous substances, or trafficking in illegal drugs.

C. A person commits murder in the first degree when the death of a child results from the willful or malicious injuring, torturing, maiming or using of unreasonable force by said person or who shall willfully cause, procure or permit any of said acts to be done upon the child pursuant to Section 843.5 of this title. It is sufficient for the crime of murder in the first degree that the person either willfully tortured or used unreasonable force upon the child or maliciously injured or maimed the child.

D. A person commits murder in the first degree when that person unlawfully and with malice aforethought solicits another person or persons to cause the death of a human being in furtherance of unlawfully manufacturing, distributing or dispensing controlled dangerous substances, as defined in the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, unlawfully possessing with intent to distribute or dispense controlled dangerous substances, or trafficking in illegal drugs.

E. A person commits murder in the first degree when that person intentionally causes the death of a law enforcement officer or correctional officer while the officer is in the performance of official duties.

Added by Laws 1976, 1st Ex. Sess., c. 1, § 1, eff. July 24, 1976.

Amended by Laws 1982, c. 279, § 1, operative Oct. 1, 1982; Laws 1989, c. 259, § 1, emerg. eff. May 19, 1989; Laws 1996, c. 161, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1996; Laws 1997, c. 386, § 23, emerg. eff. June 10, 1997; Laws 1998, c. 5, § 11, emerg. eff. March 4, 1998; Laws 2004, c. 520, § 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2004; Laws 2006, c. 186, § 2, eff. July 1, 2006; Laws 2009, c. 234, § 120, emerg. eff. May 21, 2009.

NOTE: Laws 1989, c. 253, § 1 repealed by Laws 1989, c. 353, § 14, emerg. eff. June 3, 1989. Laws 1997, c. 324, § 1 repealed by Laws 1998, c. 5, § 29, emerg. eff. March 4, 1998.


§21-701.9. Punishment for murder.

A. A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to murder in the first degree shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole or by imprisonment for life. A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to murder in the first degree, as described in subsection E of Section 701.7 of this title, shall not be entitled to or afforded the benefit of deferment of the sentence.

B. A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to murder in the second degree shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state penal institution for not less than ten (10) years nor more than life.

Added by Laws 1976, 1st Ex.Sess., c. 1, § 3, eff. July 24, 1976.

Amended by Laws 1987, c. 96, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1987; Laws 1997, c. 133, § 233, eff. July 1, 1999; Laws 1999, 1st Ex.Sess., c. 5, § 137, eff. July 1, 1999; Laws 2004, c. 520, § 3, eff. Nov. 1, 2004.

NOTE: Laws 1998, 1st Ex.Sess., c. 2, § 23 amended the effective date of Laws 1997, c. 133, § 233 from July 1, 1998 to July 1, 1999.


§21 701.11. Instructions Jury findings of aggravating circumstance.

In the sentencing proceeding, the statutory instructions as determined by the trial judge to be warranted by the evidence shall be given in the charge and in writing to the jury for its deliberation. The jury, if its verdict be a unanimous recommendation of death, shall designate in writing, signed by the foreman of the jury, the statutory aggravating circumstance or circumstances which it unanimously found beyond a reasonable doubt. In nonjury cases the judge shall make such designation. Unless at least one of the statutory aggravating circumstances enumerated in this act is so found or if it is found that any such aggravating circumstance is outweighed by the finding of one or more mitigating circumstances, the death penalty shall not be imposed. If the jury cannot, within a reasonable time, agree as to punishment, the judge shall dismiss the jury and impose a sentence of imprisonment for life without parole or imprisonment for life.

Amended by Laws 1987, c. 96, § 3, eff. Nov. 1, 1987.
§21 701.11a. Clemency not affected.

Nothing in this act shall be construed to impair or abrogate the use of clemency by way of commutation or pardon.

Amended by Laws 1987, c. 96, § 3, eff. Nov. 1, 1987.


§21-701.12. Aggravating circumstances.

Aggravating circumstances shall be:

1. The defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person;

2. The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person;

3. The person committed the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employed another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration;

4. The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel;

5. The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution;

6. The murder was committed by a person while serving a sentence of imprisonment on conviction of a felony;

7. The existence of a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society; or

8. The victim of the murder was a peace officer as defined by Section 99 of this title, or correctional employee of an institution under the control of the Department of Corrections, and such person was killed while in performance of official duty.

Added by Laws 1976, 1st Ex. Sess., c. 1 , § 6, eff. July 24, 1976.
Amended by Laws 1981, c. 147, § 1, emerg. eff. May 8, 1981; Laws 2011, c. 160, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2011.



Source: Oklahoma State Legislature, "Oklahoma Statutes," www.oklegislature.gov (accessed Aug. 16, 2012)