When is there a crime of murder?


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He murder constitutes a crime where the victim is killed. One of the elements that characterizes murder is premeditation, therefore the sentences with which it is punished range from fifteen to twenty years, and may be increased to twenty-five years in the event of two or more aggravating circumstances. 

Murder is typified in article 139, 140, 140 bis and 141 of the Penal Code. What will determine its degree of seriousness, will be the subjective element that integrates it, since it is a crime that can only occur under the modality of fraud, resulting in its commission being unfeasible due to fault or imprudence.     

When is there a crime of murder?
When is there a crime of murder?

What is the crime of murder? 

He crime of murder in turn translates into a crime against the life of a human being, through which he is killed in an atrocious way. Through the commission of this ruthless crime, whoever executes it can incur in certain situations such as treachery, price or reward, promise or cruelty, which act as aggravating factors.    

Circumstances that must be present in the crime of murder 

The circumstances or facts that qualify the type are established in article 139 of the Penal Code.  

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Whoever murders another must use means or forms that contribute to carry out said act, making it deserving of a greater penalty than any other crime. These circumstances are what will qualify the type, and must materialize so that the crime of murder can be configured and not be confused with homicide.

These fundamental circumstances or situations for the commission of the crime of murder are those mentioned below: 

  • The commission of the criminal act through treachery, that is, when the person committing the crime uses a means or form aimed at retaining the victim. For example, if the murder occurs at night when the assaulted person is at a disadvantage, the attacker taking advantage of the situation. Treachery is not applicable to other types of crimes.  

These elements or requirements for the treachery to proceed, and must also concur together for its origin, are classified as normative, objective or instrumental, subjective and teleological requirement. 

  • Execute the act with cruelty. In this case, the murderer does everything possible to increase the suffering of the victim, even when this is unnecessary to cause death. For example, repeatedly stabbing the victim, thus ensuring the execution of the criminal act.  
  • Concurrency of price, reward or promise. In this case, the economic interest is the one that originates the situation, that is, the aggressor kills the victim for a reward or promise.       
  • To facilitate the commission of another punishable act or to prevent its discovery.    

These requirements or elements coincide in that the way, form and means used to commit the punishable act, produce a total defenselessness of the murdered person. 

All these situations or circumstances qualify the type. If only one of them occurs, the crime is already qualified, so it is not essential that all or some of them occur, although it could be the case.    

The thesis that this crime has independence or autonomy has been the subject of debate among doctrinaires and jurists, while another sector maintains, on the contrary, that murder constitutes a form of homicide.   

The crime of murder is compatible with the aggravating circumstances provided in numerals 2, 4, 7 and 8 of article 22 of the Penal Code, the mitigating circumstances provided for in article 21 and the mixed circumstance of kinship provided for in article 23.  

Advances brought about by the reform of the crime of murder

The progress made by the Penal Code reform They are mainly based on the modification of the penal regime and the emergence of other figures of murder. 

The reform imposes a prison sentence of indeterminate duration, for particularly serious crimes, establishing the prison to remain reviewable. The new penalty regime underwent an increase in the basic conventional type, incorporating the reviewable permanent prison sentence for the most serious types. Likewise, the homicide carried out to propitiate the commission of another criminal act or hide it, is classified as non-aggravated murder. 

In the case of a sexual motive, if the aggrieved person is under 16 years of age or is someone particularly vulnerable, a type of qualified murder or aggrieved modality of the type will be determined. Just as if the crime had been committed after a violation against the sexual freedom of the victim.  

A reviewable permanent prison sentence will be imposed on the culprit of murder, sentenced for the death of more than two people, while the maximum sentence will be applied to those who have committed multiple murders, or if the culprit is part of a criminal organization or group when committing the crime. 

In this type of crime, it is possible that both direct and eventual intent occur, since if the subject who commits the crime is aware of his behavior and the consequences that derive from it, this is regardless of whether the result has not been what he intended. 

He article 140 bis of the Code imposes a measure of probation on those who have committed one or more crimes. For its part, article 141 eiusdem penalty in the same way to whoever incurs in provocation, proposition and conspiracy of the aforementioned crimes.     

Some penalists have affirmed that although the Penal Code does not typify it, apart from common murder, there are two more classes: aggravated and hyper-aggravated. In the first, there are several circumstances of those established in section 1 of article 139 of the Code. The applicable in this case will be the one provided for in section 2 of the same article. 

In hyper-aggravated murder, any of the circumstances established in section 1 of article 139 of the Code concurs, together with any of the circumstances established in article 140 of the same. The applicable penalty is provided for in the aforementioned article 140, making it unfeasible to resort to those established in article 22.    

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