Legal Question in Criminal Law in Virginia


This is for my criminal law class. Say someome attempts to murder. The victim lives but is on life support and in a coma. Question: If the person is brain dead is it actual murder or still attempted murder? If the person dies while in treatment is it still murder and is there a time limit on this. If the family chooses to pull life support is it murder or attempted?

Asked on 8/12/07, 8:31 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Murder

Once the person expires, it's murder, and if the victim dies during the course of treatment or is brain-dead and the family authorizes the "pulling of the plug", so to speak, it's still murder for the alleged perpetrator.

Why so, i.e., the legal rationale? One must be held to account for the natural consequences of one's actions, a legal proposition which must necessarily apply to this hypothetical scenario.

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Answered on 8/12/07, 10:29 pm

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