News

Supreme Court Asked to Review Unusual Death Sentence

Attorneys for Patrick Kennedy, the only person on death row in the U.S. for a non-homicide offense, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether a death sentence for a crime where the victim was not murdered is constitutional. Kennedy was convicted of raping his 8-year-old step-daughter in Louisiana in 1998. Only a handful of states have laws that would allow a death sentence for such a crime. No one has been executed for a non-homicide offense since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and Kennedy is the only person under a death sentence for such an offense.

Kennedy has maintained his innocence of the underlying crime since his arrest, and defense attorney Jelpi P. Picou, Jr., notes that there was "no physical evidence" linking Kennedy to the crime.

There has not been an execution for rape in the United States since 1964. The U.S. Supreme Court last looked at the constitutional question in 1977, when it held that the death penalty for the rape of an adult was unconstitutional, calling the death penalty "grossly disproportionate" and "excessive" in that instance. In 1997, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to Louisiana's child-rape law because the defendant had not been sentenced to death. At that time, Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer indicated that they had reservations about the law and that the Court's refusal to consider the appeal "does not in any way constitute a ruling on the merits."
(ABC News, September 11, 2007). Read Kennedy's Petition for certiorari. See also, Arbitrariness, Crimes Punishable by Death, and Supreme Court.


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EDITORIALS: Death Penalty for Rape Would "Compound the Error"

In a recent editorial, the Los Angeles Times voiced concerns about a Louisiana Supreme Court decision upholding the death sentence of Patrick Kennedy for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter. The paper said the Louisiana court's decision to allow the death penalty in such cases could lead states to seek the death penalty for other non-murder crimes, a development that would worsen an already dysfunctional death penalty system. The editorial noted:

The United States is virtually alone among advanced democracies in permitting capital punishment. But widespread ambivalence about imposing the ultimate penalty has produced a minor industry of litigation that has had the effect of postponing executions for years and even decades. This state of affairs, which frustrates supporters and opponents of capital punishment, exists even though the death penalty has been imposed for more than a generation only in murder cases. Now imagine how clogged the courts would become if states were allowed to execute individuals for other crimes.

Just that scenario has arisen with a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court. In upholding a death sentence for Patrick Kennedy, who raped his 8-year-old stepdaughter and then told her to implicate someone else, the majority noted that the U.S. Supreme Court "has characterized rape as a crime second only to homicide in the harm that it causes." That observation actually came in a decision that invalidated the death sentence of a convicted rapist. But the Louisiana court held out the hope that the current U.S. Supreme Court would regard this case differently. Unfortunately, it's not an idle hope.

In a 1977 ruling, only four justices signed an opinion saying that capital punishment for rape was always unconstitutional. Justice Lewis Powell voted to vacate the sentence on the narrower rationale that "death is disproportionate punishment for the crime of raping an adult woman," leaving open the possibility that rape of a child might qualify as a capital crime. A majority of the current court might be willing to seize on the distinction Powell drew by upholding the death penalty for Kennedy. And the justices might be influenced by the argument that Louisiana's law, which capitalizes the crime of aggravated rape of a child under 12, reflects "evolving standards of decency." As the Louisiana court noted, four other states have followed Louisiana's lead. Texas will join the list if, as expected, the governor signs a bill recently approved by the Legislature.

The rape of a child is an unspeakable crime. In its decision, the Louisiana court wrote that "short of first-degree murder, we can think of no other non-homicide crime more deserving" of the death penalty. But imaginative state legislators might easily discover other offenses worthy of the ultimate punishment: terrorism, major drug dealing (a capital offense under federal law) or violent hate crimes. Capital punishment has proved dysfunctional and divisive as a sanction for murder. The U.S. Supreme Court shouldn't compound the error — and increase its own workload — by allowing states to execute criminals who do not take a human life.

(Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2007). See Editorials and Death Penalty for Non-Murder Crimes.


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AGGRAVATING FACTORS FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT BY STATE

Sources:
Jeffrey Kirchmeier, "Aggravating and Mitigating Factors: The Paradox of Today's Arbitrary and Mandatory Capital Punishment Scheme," 6 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 345 (1998), (available https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1028382).

Jeffrey Kirchmeier, "Casting a Wider Net: Another Decade of Legislative Expansion of the Death Penalty in the United States," 34 Pepperdine Law Review 1 (2006), (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=959400).

For aggravating and mitigating factors in the federal death penalty statute, click here.

For a discussion of the child-victim aggravating factor, click here.

Alabama: Ala. Stat. Ann. 13A-5-40(a)(1)-(19)

(1) Murder by the defendant during a kidnapping in the first degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(2) Murder by the defendant during a robbery in the first degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(3) Murder by the defendant during a rape in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant;  or murder by the defendant during sodomy in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(4) Murder by the defendant during a burglary in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(5) Murder of any police officer, sheriff, deputy, state trooper, federal law enforcement officer, or any other state or federal peace officer of any kind, or prison or jail guard, while such officer or guard is on duty, regardless of whether the defendant knew or should have known the victim was an officer or guard on duty, or because of some official or job-related act or performance of such officer or guard.
(6) Murder committed while the defendant is under sentence of life imprisonment.
(7) Murder done for a pecuniary or other valuable consideration or pursuant to a contract or for hire.
(8) Murder by the defendant during sexual abuse in the first or second degree or an attempt thereof committed by the defendant.
(9) Murder by the defendant during arson in the first or second degree committed by the defendant;  or murder by the defendant by means of explosives or explosion.
(10) Murder wherein two or more persons are murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct.
(11) Murder by the defendant when the victim is a state or federal public official or former public official and the murder stems from or is caused by or is related to his official position, act, or capacity.
(12) Murder by the defendant during the act of unlawfully assuming control of any aircraft by use of threats or force with intent to obtain any valuable consideration for the release of said aircraft or any passenger or crewmen thereon or to direct the route or movement of said aircraft, or otherwise exert control over said aircraft.
(13) Murder by a defendant who has been convicted of any other murder in the 20 years preceding the crime;  provided that the murder which constitutes the capital crime shall be murder as defined in subsection (b) of this section;  and provided further that the prior murder conviction referred to shall include murder in any degree as defined at the time and place of the prior conviction.
(14) Murder when the victim is subpoenaed, or has been subpoenaed, to testify, or the victim had testified, in any preliminary hearing, grand jury proceeding, criminal trial or criminal proceeding of whatever nature, or civil trial or civil proceeding of whatever nature, in any municipal, state, or federal court, when the murder stems from, is caused by, or is related to the capacity or role of the victim as a witness.
(15) Murder when the victim is less than fourteen years of age.
(16) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used from outside a dwelling while the victim is in a dwelling.
(17) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon while the victim is in a vehicle.
(18) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle.
(19) Murder by the defendant where a court had issued a protective order for the victim, against the defendant, pursuant to Section 30-5-1 et seq., or the protective order was issued as a condition of the defendant's pretrial release.

Arizona: A.R.S. § 13-751

(1) The defendant has been convicted of another offense in the United States for which under Arizona law a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable.
(2) The defendant has been or was previously convicted of a serious offense, whether preparatory or completed. Convictions for serious offenses committed on the same occasion as the homicide, or not committed on the same occasion but consolidated for trial with the homicide, shall be treated as a serious offense under this paragraph.
(3) In the commission of the offense the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person or persons in addition to the person murdered during the commission of the offense.
(4) The defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value.
(5) The defendant committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value.
(6) The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.
(7) The defendant committed the offense while:

(a) In the custody of or on authorized or unauthorized release from the state department of corrections, a law enforcement agency or a county or city jail.
(b) On probation for a felony offense.

(8) The defendant has been convicted of one or more other homicides, as defined in section 13-1101, that were committed during the commission of the offense.
(9) The defendant was an adult at the time the offense was committed or was tried as an adult and the murdered person was under fifteen years of age, was an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development or was seventy years of age or older.
(10) The murdered person was an on duty peace officer who was killed in the course of performing the officer's official duties and the defendant knew, or should have known, that the murdered person was a peace officer.
(11) The defendant committed the offense with the intent to promote, further or assist the objectives of a criminal street gang or criminal syndicate or to join a criminal street gang or criminal syndicate.
(12) The defendant committed the offense to prevent a person's cooperation with an official law enforcement investigation, to prevent a person's testimony in a court proceeding, in retaliation for a person's cooperation with an official law enforcement investigation or in retaliation for a person's testimony in a court proceeding.
(13) The offense was committed in a cold, calculated manner without pretense of moral or legal justification.
(14) The defendant used a remote stun gun or an authorized remote stun gun in the commission of the offense. For the purposes of this paragraph:

(a) "Authorized remote stun gun" means a remote stun gun that has all of the following:

(i) An electrical discharge that is less than one hundred thousand volts and less than nine joules of energy per pulse.
(ii) A serial or identification number on all projectiles that are discharged from the remote stun gun.
(iii) An identification and tracking system that, on deployment of remote electrodes, disperses coded material that is traceable to the purchaser through records that are kept by the manufacturer on all remote stun guns and all individual cartridges sold.
(iv) A training program that is offered by the manufacturer.

(b) "Remote stun gun" means an electronic device that emits an electrical charge and that is designed and primarily employed to incapacitate a person or animal either through contact with electrodes on the device itself or remotely through wired probes that are attached to the device or through a spark, plasma, ionization or other conductive means emitting from the device.

Arkansas: Ark. Code Ann. 5-10-101
(1) Acting alone or with one (1) or more other persons:

(A) The person commits or attempts to commit:

(i) Terrorism, as defined in 5-54-205;
(ii) Rape, 5-14-103;
(iii) Kidnapping, 5-11-102;
(iv) Vehicular piracy, 5-11-105;
(v) Robbery, 5-12-102;
(vi) Aggravated robbery, 5-12-103;
(vii) Residential burglary, 5-39-201(a);
(viii) Commercial burglary, 5-39-201(b);
(ix) Aggravated residential burglary, 5-39-204;
(x) A felony violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, 5-64-101 -- 5-64-508, involving an actual delivery of a controlled substance; or
(xi) First degree escape, 5-54-110; and

(B) In the course of and in furtherance of the felony or in immediate flight from the felony, the person or an accomplice causes the death of a person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;

(2) Acting alone or with one (1) or more other persons:

(A) The person commits or attempts to commit arson, 5-38-301; and
(B) In the course of and in furtherance of the felony or in immediate flight from the felony, the person or an accomplice causes the death of any person;

(3) With the premeditated and deliberated purpose of causing the death of any law enforcement officer, jailer, prison official, firefighter, judge or other court official, probation officer, parole officer, any military personnel, or teacher or school employee, when such person is acting in the line of duty, the person causes the death of any person;
(4) With the premeditated and deliberated purpose of causing the death of another person, the person causes the death of any person;
(5) With the premeditated and deliberated purpose of causing the death of the holder of any public office filled by election or appointment or a candidate for public office, the person causes the death of any person;
(6) While incarcerated in the Department of Correction or the Department of Community Correction, the person purposely causes the death of another person after premeditation and deliberation;
(7) Pursuant to an agreement that the person cause the death of another person in return for anything of value, he or she causes the death of any person;
(8) The person enters into an agreement in which a person is to cause the death of another person in return for anything of value, and a person hired pursuant to the agreement causes the death of any person;
(9) (A) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, the person knowingly causes the death of a person fourteen (14) years of age or younger at the time the murder was committed if the defendant was eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time the murder was committed. (B) It is an affirmative defense to any prosecution under this subdivision (a)(9) arising from the failure of the parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis to provide specified medical or surgical treatment, that the parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis relied solely on spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of an established church or religious denomination of which he or she is a member; or
(10) The person:

(A) Purposely discharges a firearm from a vehicle at a person or at a vehicle, conveyance, or a residential or commercial occupiable structure that he or she knows or has good reason to believe to be occupied by a person; and
(B) Thereby causes the death of another person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

California: Cal. Penal Code § 190.2

(1) The murder was intentional and carried out for financial gain.
(2) The defendant was convicted previously of murder in the first or second degree. For the purpose of this paragraph, an offense committed in another jurisdiction, which if committed in California would be punishable as first or second degree murder, shall be deemed murder in the first or second degree.
(3) The defendant, in this proceeding, has been convicted of more than one offense of murder in the first or second degree.
(4) The murder was committed by means of a destructive device, bomb, or explosive planted, hidden, or concealed in any place, area, dwelling, building, or structure, and the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that his or her act or acts would create a great risk of death to one or more human beings.
(5) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest, or perfecting or attempting to perfect, an escape from lawful custody.
(6) The murder was committed by means of a destructive device, bomb, or explosive that the defendant mailed or delivered, attempted to mail or deliver, or caused to be mailed or delivered, and the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that his or her act or acts would create a great risk of death to one or more human beings.
(7) The victim was a peace officer...who, while engaged in the course of the performance of his or her duties, was intentionally killed, and the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim was a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties; or the victim was a peace officer...or a former peace officer under any of those sections, and was intentionally killed in retaliation for the performance of his or her official duties.
(8) The victim was a federal law enforcement officer or agent who, while engaged in the course of the performance of his or her duties, was intentionally killed, and the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim was a federal law enforcement officer or agent engaged in the performance of his or her duties; or the victim was a federal law enforcement officer or agent, and was intentionally killed in retaliation for the performance of his or her official duties.
(9) The victim was a firefighter...who, while engaged in the course of the performance of his or her duties, was intentionally killed, and the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim was a firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties.
(10) The victim was a witness to a crime who was intentionally killed for the purpose of preventing his or her testimony in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, and the killing was not committed during the commission or attempted commission, of the crime to which he or she was a witness; or the victim was a witness to a crime and was intentionally killed in retaliation for his or her testimony in any criminal or juvenile proceeding.
(11) The victim was a prosecutor or assistant prosecutor or a former prosecutor or assistant prosecutor of any local or state prosecutor's office in this or any other state, or of a federal prosecutor's office, and the murder was intentionally carried out in retaliation for, or to prevent the performance of, the victim's official duties.
(12) The victim was a judge or former judge of any court of record in the local, state, or federal system in this or any other state, and the murder was intentionally carried out in retaliation for, or to prevent the performance of, the victim's official duties.
(13) The victim was an elected or appointed official or former official of the federal government, or of any local or state government of this or any other state, and the killing was intentionally carried out in retaliation for, or to prevent the performance of, the victim's official duties.
(14) The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity. As used in this section, the phrase "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity" means a conscienceless or pitiless crime that is unnecessarily torturous to the victim.
(15) The defendant intentionally killed the victim by means of lying in wait.
(16) The victim was intentionally killed because of his or her race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin.
(17) The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in, or was an accomplice in, the commission of, attempted commission of, or the immediate flight after committing, or attempting to commit, the following felonies:

(A) Robbery in violation of Section 211 or 212.5.
(B) Kidnapping in violation of Section 207, 209, or 209.5.
(C) Rape in violation of Section 261.
(D) Sodomy in violation of Section 286.
(E) The performance of a lewd or lascivious act upon the person of a child under the age of 14 years in violation of Section 288.
(F) Oral copulation in violation of Section 288a.
(G) Burglary in the first or second degree in violation of Section 460.
(H) Arson in violation of subdivision (b) of Section 451.
(I) Train wrecking in violation of Section 219.
(J) Mayhem in violation of Section 203.
(K) Rape by instrument in violation of Section 289.
(L) Carjacking, as defined in Section 215.
(M) To prove the special circumstances of kidnapping in subparagraph (B), or arson in subparagraph (H), if there is specific intent to kill, it is only required that there be proof of the elements of those felonies. If so established, those two special circumstances are proven even if the felony of kidnapping or arson is committed primarily or solely for the purpose of facilitating the murder.

(18) The murder was intentional and involved the infliction of torture.
(19) The defendant intentionally killed the victim by the administration of poison.
(20) The victim was a juror in any court of record in the local, state, or federal system in this or any other state, and the murder was intentionally carried out in retaliation for, or to prevent the performance of, the victim's official duties.
(21) The murder was intentional and perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, intentionally at another person or persons outside the vehicle with the intent to inflict death.
(22) The defendant intentionally killed the victim while the defendant was an active participant in a criminal street gang...and the murder was carried out to further the activities of the criminal street gang.

Colorado: C.R.S. § 18-1.3-1201(5)

(1) The class 1 felony was committed by a person under sentence of imprisonment for a class 1, 2, or 3 felony as defined by Colorado law or United States law, or for a crime committed against another state or the United States which would constitute a class 1, 2, or 3 felony as defined by Colorado law<
(2) The defendant was previously convicted in this state of a class 1 or 2 felony involving violence as specified in section 18-1.3-406, or was previously convicted by another state or the United States of an offense which would constitute a class 1 or 2 felony involving violence as defined by Colorado law in section 18-1.3-406
(3) The defendant intentionally killed any of the following persons while the person was engaged in the course of the performance of the person's official duties, and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a person engaged in the performance of the person's official duties, or the victim was intentionally killed in retaliation for the performance of the victim's official duties:

(I) A peace officer or former peace officer as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S.; or
(II) A firefighter as defined in section 24-33.5-1202 (4), C.R.S.; or
(II.5) An emergency medical service provider, as defined in section 18-3-201 (1); or
(III) A judge, referee, or former judge or referee of any court of record in the state or federal system or in any other state court system or a judge or former judge in any municipal court in this state or in any other state. For purposes of this subparagraph (III), the term "referee" shall include a hearing officer or any other officer who exercises judicial functions.
(IV) An elected state, county, or municipal official; or
(V) A federal law enforcement officer or agent or former federal law enforcement officer or agent

(4) The defendant intentionally killed a person kidnapped or being held as a hostage by the defendant or by anyone associated with the defendant
(5) The defendant has been a party to an agreement to kill another person in furtherance of which a person has been intentionally killed
(6) The defendant committed the offense while lying in wait, from ambush, or by use of an explosive or incendiary device or a chemical, biological, or radiological weapon. As used in this paragraph (f), "explosive or incendiary device" means:

(I) Dynamite and all other forms of high explosives; or
(II) Any explosive bomb, grenade, missile, or similar device; or
(III) Any incendiary bomb or grenade, fire bomb, or similar device, including any device which consists of or includes a breakable container including a flammable liquid or compound, and a wick composed of any material which, when ignited, is capable of igniting such flammable liquid or compound, and can be carried or thrown by one individual acting alone.

(7) The defendant committed a class 1, 2, or 3 felony and, in the course of or in furtherance of such or immediate flight therefrom, the defendant intentionally caused the death of a person other than one of the participants
(8) The class 1 felony was committed for pecuniary gain
(9) In the commission of the offense, the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim of the offense
(10) The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner
(11) The class 1 felony was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution or effecting an escape from custody. This factor shall include the intentional killing of a witness to a criminal offense.
(12) The defendant unlawfully and intentionally, knowingly, or with universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, killed two or more persons during the commission of the same criminal episode
(13) The defendant intentionally killed a child who has not yet attained twelve years of age
(14) The defendant committed the class 1 felony against the victim because of the victim's race, color, ancestry, religion, or national origin
(15) The defendant's possession of the weapon used to commit the class 1 felony constituted a felony offense under the laws of this state or the United States
(16) The defendant intentionally killed more than one person in more than one criminal episode
(17) The victim was a pregnant woman, and the defendant intentionally killed the victim, knowing she was pregnant.

Connecticut: (abolished death penalty in 2012)
(1)The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or depraved (or involved torture)
(2) The capital offense was committed during the commission of, attempt of, or escape from a specified felony (such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, arson, oral copulation, train wrecking, carjacking, criminal gang activity, drug dealing, or aircraft piracy)
(3) The defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death for one or more persons in addition to the victim of the offense
(4)The defendant committed the offense with an assault weapon
(5) The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder, or the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, promise of payment, or anything of pecuniary value
(6) The defendant has been convicted of, or committed, a prior murder, a felony involving violence, or other serious felony
(7)The defendant committed the murder to avoid arrest for a criminal act or prevent detection of a criminal act or to hamper or prevent the victim from carrying out any act within the scope of the victim’s official duties or to retaliate against the victim for the performance of the victim’s official duties
(8)Murder of a person under 16 years of age
(9) Murders, while the victim was acting within the scope of his duties, a police officer, Division of Criminal Justice inspector, state marshal exercising his statutory authority, judicial marshal performing his duties, constable performing law enforcement duties, special policeman, conservation or special conservation officer appointed by the environmental protection commissioner, Department of Correction (DOC) employee or service provider acting within the scope of his employment in a correctional facility and the perpetrator is an inmate, or firefighter;

Delaware: (Death sentencing statute struck down 2016) 11 Del. C. § 4209

(1) The murder was committed by a person in, or who has escaped from, the custody of a law-enforcement officer or place of confinement.
(2) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest or for the purpose of effecting an escape from custody.
(3) The murder was committed against any law-enforcement officer, corrections employee, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, fire marshal or fire police officer while such victim was engaged in the performance of official duties.
(4) The murder was committed against a judicial officer, a former judicial officer, Attorney General, former Attorney General, Assistant or Deputy Attorney General or former Assistant or Deputy Attorney General, State Detective or former State Detective, Special Investigator or former Special Investigator, during, or because of, the exercise of an official duty.
(5) The murder was committed against a person who was held or otherwise detained as a shield or hostage.
(6) The murder was committed against a person who was held or detained by the defendant for ransom or reward.
(7) The murder was committed against a person who was a witness to a crime and who was killed for the purpose of preventing the witness's appearance or testimony in any grand jury, criminal or civil proceeding involving such crime, or in retaliation for the witness's appearance or testimony in any grand jury, criminal or civil proceeding involving such crime.
(8) The defendant paid or was paid by another person or had agreed to pay or be paid by another person or had conspired to pay or be paid by another person for the killing of the victim.
(9) The defendant was previously convicted of another murder or manslaughter or of a felony involving the use of, or threat of, force or violence upon another person.
(10) The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any degree of rape, unlawful sexual intercourse, arson, kidnapping, robbery, sodomy, burglary, or home invasion.
(11) The defendant's course of conduct resulted in the deaths of 2 or more persons where the deaths are a probable consequence of the defendant's conduct.
(12) The murder was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, use of an explosive device or poison or the defendant used such means on the victim prior to murdering the victim.
(13) The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder or committed murder as an agent or employee of another person.
(14) The defendant was under a sentence of life imprisonment, whether for natural life or otherwise, at the time of the commission of the murder.
(15) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain.
(16) The victim was pregnant.
(17) The victim was particularly vulnerable due to a severe intellectual, mental or physical disability.
(18) The victim was 62 years of age or older.
(19) The victim was a child 14 years of age or younger, and the murder was committed by an individual who is at least 4 years older than the victim.
(20) At the time of the killing, the victim was or had been a nongovernmental informant or had otherwise provided any investigative, law enforcement or police agency with information concerning criminal activity, and the killing was in retaliation for the victim's activities as a nongovernmental informant or in providing information concerning criminal activity to an investigative, law enforcement or police agency.
(21) The murder was premeditated and the result of substantial planning. Such planning must be as to the commission of the murder itself and not simply as to the commission or attempted commission of any underlying felony.
(22) The murder was committed for the purpose of interfering with the victim's free exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege or immunity protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or because the victim has exercised or enjoyed said rights, or because of the victim's race, religion, color, disability, national origin or ancestry.

Florida:  Fl. Stat. 921.141(6)

(1)    The capital felony was committed by a person previously convicted of a felony and under sentence of imprisonment or placed on community control or on felony probation.
(2) The defendant was previously convicted of another capital felony or of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person.
(3) The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to many persons.
(4) The capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an accomplice, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any: robbery; sexual battery; aggravated child abuse; abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; arson; burglary; kidnapping; aircraft piracy; or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.
(5) The capital felony was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or effecting an escape from custody.
(6) The capital felony was committed for pecuniary gain.
(7) The capital felony was committed to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of laws.
(8) The capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.
(9) The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.
(10) The victim of the capital felony was a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his or her official duties.
(11) The victim of the capital felony was an elected or appointed public official engaged in the performance of his or her official duties if the motive for the capital felony was related, in whole or in part, to the victim’s official capacity.
(12) The victim of the capital felony was a person less than 12 years of age.
(13) The victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, or because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim.
(14) The capital felony was committed by a criminal gang member, as defined in s. 874.03.
(15) The capital felony was committed by a person designated as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21 or a person previously designated as a sexual predator who had the sexual predator designation removed.
(16) The capital felony was committed by a person subject to an injunction issued pursuant to s.741.30 or s. 784.046, or a foreign protection order accorded full faith and credit pursuant to s.741.315, and was committed against the petitioner who obtained the injunction or protection order or any spouse, child, sibling, or parent of the petitioner.

Georgia: GA Code § 17-10-30

(1) The offense of murder, rape, armed robbery, or kidnapping was committed by a person with a prior record of conviction for a capital felony;
(2) The offense of murder, rape, armed robbery, or kidnapping was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of another capital felony or aggravated battery, or the offense of murder was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of burglary or arson in the first degree;
(3) The offender, by his act of murder, armed robbery, or kidnapping, knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person in a public place by means of a weapon or device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person;
(4) The offender committed the offense of murder for himself or another, for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value;
(5) The murder of a judicial officer, former judicial officer, district attorney or solicitor-general, or former district attorney, solicitor, or solicitor-general was committed during or because of the exercise of his or her official duties;
(6) The offender caused or directed another to commit murder or committed murder as an agent or employee of another person;
(7) The offense of murder, rape, armed robbery, or kidnapping was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated battery to the victim;
(8) The offense of murder was committed against any peace officer, corrections employee, or firefighter while engaged in the performance of his official duties;
(9) The offense of murder was committed by a person in, or who has escaped from, the lawful custody of a peace officer or place of lawful confinement;
(10) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or custody in a place of lawful confinement, of himself or another; or
(11) The offense of murder, rape, or kidnapping was committed by a person previously convicted of rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, or aggravated sexual battery.

Idaho: Idaho Statute 19-2515

(1)  The defendant was previously convicted of another murder.
(2)  At the time the murder was committed the defendant also committed another murder.
(3)  The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to many persons.
(4)  The murder was committed for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or the defendant employed another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration.
(5)  The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.
(6)  By the murder, or circumstances surrounding its commission, the defendant exhibited utter disregard for human life.
(7)  The murder was committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping or mayhem and the defendant killed, intended a killing, or acted with reckless indifference to human life.
(8)  The murder was committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, an infamous crime against nature, lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, sexual abuse of a child under sixteen (16) years of age, ritualized abuse of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual battery of a minor child sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age, or forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object, and the defendant killed, intended a killing, or acted with reckless indifference to human life.
(9)  The defendant, by his conduct, whether such conduct was before, during or after the commission of the murder at hand, has exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society.
(10)  The murder was committed against a former or present peace officer, executive officer, officer of the court, judicial officer or prosecuting attorney because of the exercise of official duty or because of the victim’s former or present official status.
(11)  The murder was committed against a witness or potential witness in a criminal or civil legal proceeding because of such proceeding.

Illinois: (abolished death penalty in 2011)
(1) Committed the offense while on probation or parole
(2) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value
(3)  The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder, or the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, promise of payment, or anything of pecuniary value
(4)  The defendant has been convicted of, or committed, a prior murder, a felony involving violence, or other serious felony
(5)  The capital offense was committed by a person who is incarcerated, has escaped, is on probation, is in jail, or is under a sentence of imprisonment
(6) The defendant was a drug dealer or has prior convictions involving the distribution of a controlled substance
(7) The murdered individual was under 12 years of age and the death resulted from exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty
(8) The victim was a government employee, including peace officers, police officers, federal agents, firefighters, judges, jurors, defense attorneys, and prosecutors, in the course of his or her duties
(9) The victim was a correctional officer.
(10) The murder was committed against a witness in a criminal or civil proceeding to prevent the witness from appearing
(11) The murder was committed as a result of the intentional discharge of a firearm by the defendant from a motor vehicle and the victim was not present within the motor vehicle
(12) The defendant committed treason
(13) The defendant knowingly or purposely and without lawful authority restrained another person by either secreting or holding in a place of isolation or by using or threatening to use physical force
(14) The murdered individual was known by the defendant to be a teacher or other person employed in any school and the teacher or other employee was on the grounds of the school, or building, or adjacent surroundings
(15) The murder was committed by the defendant in connection with or as a result of the offense of terrorism
(16) The murdered individual was subject to an order of protection and the murder was committed by a person against whom the same order of protection was issued under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986
(17) The murder was committed by reason of any person’s activity as a community-policing volunteer or to prevent any person from engaging in activity as a community policing volunteer

Indiana: IC 35-50-2-9
(1) The defendant committed the murder by intentionally killing the victim while committing or attempting to commit any of the following:

(A) Arson (IC 35-43-1-1).
(B) Burglary (IC 35-43-2-1).
(C) Child molesting (IC 35-42-4-3).
(D) Criminal deviate conduct (IC 35-42-4-2) (before its repeal).
(E) Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2).
(F) Rape (IC 35-42-4-1).
(G) Robbery (IC 35-42-5-1).
(H) Carjacking (IC 35-42-5-2) (before its repeal).
(I) Criminal gang activity (IC 35-45-9-3).
(J) Dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug (IC 35-48-4-1).
(K) Criminal confinement (IC 35-42-3-3).

(2) The defendant committed the murder by the unlawful detonation of an explosive with intent to injure a person or damage property.
(3) The defendant committed the murder by lying in wait.
(4) The defendant who committed the murder was hired to kill.
(5) The defendant committed the murder by hiring another person to kill.
(6) The victim of the murder was a corrections employee, probation officer, parole officer, community corrections worker, home detention officer, fireman, judge, or law enforcement officer, and either:

(A) the victim was acting in the course of duty; or
(B) the murder was motivated by an act the victim performed while acting in the course of duty.

(7) The defendant has been convicted of another murder.
(8) The defendant has committed another murder, at any time, regardless of whether the defendant has been convicted of that other murder.
(9) The defendant was:

(A) under the custody of the department of correction;
(B) under the custody of a county sheriff;
(C) on probation after receiving a sentence for the commission of a felony; or
(D) on parole; at the time the murder was committed.

(10) The defendant dismembered the victim.
(11) The defendant burned, mutilated, or tortured the victim while the victim was alive.
(12) The victim of the murder was less than twelve (12) years of age.
(13) The victim was a victim of any of the following offenses for which the defendant was convicted:

(A) Battery committed before July 1, 2014, as a Class D felony or as a Class C felony under IC 35-42-2-1 or battery committed after June 30, 2014, as a Level 6 felony, a Level 5 felony, a Level 4 felony, or a Level 3 felony.
(B) Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2).
(C) Criminal confinement (IC 35-42-3-3).
(D) A sex crime under IC 35-42-4.

(14) The victim of the murder was listed by the state or known by the defendant to be a witness against the defendant and the defendant committed the murder with the intent to prevent the person from testifying.
(15) The defendant committed the murder by intentionally discharging a firearm (as defined in IC 35-47-1-5):

(A) into an inhabited dwelling; or
(B) from a vehicle.

(16) The victim of the murder was pregnant and the murder resulted in the intentional killing of a fetus that has attained viability (as defined in IC 16-18-2-365).

Kansas: KSA 21-3439

(1) Intentional and premeditated killing of any person in the commission of kidnapping, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3420 and amendments thereto, or aggravated kidnapping, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3421 and amendments thereto, when the kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping was committed with the intent to hold such person for ransom; 
(2) intentional and premeditated killing of any person pursuant to a contract or agreement to kill such person or being a party to the contract or agreement pursuant to which such person is killed;
(3) intentional and premeditated killing of any person by an inmate or prisoner confined in a state correctional institution, community correctional institution or jail or while in the custody of an officer or employee of a state correctional institution, community correctional institution or jail;
(4) intentional and premeditated killing of the victim of one of the following crimes in the commission of, or subsequent to, such crime: Rape, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3502 and amendments thereto, criminal sodomy, as defined in subsections (a)(2) or (a)(3) of K.S.A. 21-3505 and amendments thereto or aggravated criminal sodomy, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3506 and amendments thereto, or any attempt thereof, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3301 and amendments thereto;
(5) intentional and premeditated killing of a law enforcement officer, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3110 and amendments thereto;
(6) intentional and premeditated killing of more than one person as a part of the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct; or
(7) intentional and premeditated killing of a child under the age of 14 in the commission of kidnapping, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3420 and amendments thereto, or aggravated kidnapping, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3421 and amendments thereto, when the kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping was committed with intent to commit a sex offense upon or with the child or with intent that the child commit or submit to a sex offense.

Kentucky: KRS 532.025

(1) The offense of murder or kidnapping was committed by a person with a prior record of conviction for a capital offense, or the offense of murder was committed by a person who has a substantial history of serious assaultive criminal convictions;
(2) The offense of murder or kidnapping was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of arson in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, rape in the first degree, or sodomy in the first degree;
(3) The offender by his act of murder, armed robbery, or kidnapping knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one (1) person in a public place by means of a weapon of mass destruction, weapon, or other device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one (1) person;
(4) The offender committed the offense of murder for himself or another, for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value, or for other profit;
(5) The offense of murder was committed by a person who was a prisoner and the victim was a prison employee engaged at the time of the act in the performance of his duties;
(6) The offender's act or acts of killing were intentional and resulted in multiple deaths;
(7) The offender's act of killing was intentional and the victim was a state or local public official or police officer, sheriff, or deputy sheriff engaged at the time of the act in the lawful performance of his duties; and
(8) The offender murdered the victim when an emergency protective order or a domestic violence order was in effect, or when any other order designed to protect the victim from the offender, such as an order issued as a condition of a bond, conditional release, probation, parole, or pretrial diversion, was in effect.

Louisiana: La. R.S. 14:30

(1)  When the offender has specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm and is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, aggravated arson, aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, assault by drive-by shooting, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, terrorism, cruelty to juveniles, or second degree cruelty to juveniles.
(2)  When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm upon a fireman, peace officer, or civilian employee of the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory or any other forensic laboratory engaged in the performance of his lawful duties, or when the specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm is directly related to the victim's status as a fireman, peace officer, or civilian employee.
(3)  When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm upon more than one person.
(4)  When the offender has specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm and has offered, has been offered, has given, or has received anything of value for the killing.
(5)  When the offender has the specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm upon a victim who is under the age of twelve or sixty-five years of age or older.
(6)  When the offender has the specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm while engaged in the distribution, exchange, sale, or purchase, or any attempt thereof, of a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law.
(7)  When the offender has specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm and is engaged in the activities prohibited by R.S. 14:107.1(C)(1).
(8)  When the offender has specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm and there has been issued by a judge or magistrate any lawful order prohibiting contact between the offender and the victim in response to threats of physical violence or harm which was served on the offender and is in effect at the time of the homicide.
(9)  When the offender has specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm upon a victim who was a witness to a crime or was a member of the immediate family of a witness to a crime committed on a prior occasion and:

(a)  The killing was committed for the purpose of preventing or influencing the victim's testimony in any criminal action or proceeding whether or not such action or proceeding had been commenced; or
(b)  The killing was committed for the purpose of exacting retribution for the victim's prior testimony.


Maryland: (abolished death penalty in 2013)
(1)The capital offense was committed during the commission of, attempt of, or escape from a specified felony (such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, arson, oral copulation, train wrecking, carjacking, criminal gang activity, drug dealing, or aircraft piracy)
(2) The defendant committed or attempted to commit more than one murder at the same time
(3) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value
(4) The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder, or the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, promise of payment, or anything of pecuniary value
(5) The murder was committed to avoid or prevent arrest, to effect an escape, or to conceal the commission of a crime
(6) The capital offense was committed by a person who is incarcerated, has escaped, is on probation, is in jail, or is under a sentence of imprisonment
(7) The victim was a government employee, including peace officers, police officers, federal agents, firefighters, judges, jurors, defense attorneys, and prosecutors, in the course of his or her duties
(8)The murder was committed against a person held as a shield, as a hostage, or for ransom. The victim was a child abducted.

Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(2)

(1) Murder which is perpetrated by killing a peace officer or fireman while such officer or fireman is acting in his official capacity or by reason of an act performed in his official capacity, and with knowledge that the victim was a peace officer or fireman. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "peace officer" means any state or federal law enforcement officer, including, but not limited to, a federal park ranger, the sheriff of or police officer of a city or town, a conservation officer, a parole officer, a judge, senior status judge, special judge, district attorney, legal assistant to a district attorney, county prosecuting attorney or any other court official, an agent of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the State Tax Commission, an agent of the Bureau of Narcotics, personnel of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the employees of the Department of Corrections who are designated as peace officers by the Commissioner of Corrections pursuant to Section 47-5-54, and the superintendent and his deputies, guards, officers and other employees of the Mississippi State Penitentiary;
(2) Murder which is perpetrated by a person who is under sentence of life imprisonment;
(3) Murder which is perpetrated by use or detonation of a bomb or explosive device;
(4) Murder which is perpetrated by any person who has been offered or has received anything of value for committing the murder, and all parties to such a murder, are guilty as principals;
(5) When done with or without any design to effect death, by any person engaged in the commission of the crime of rape, burglary, kidnapping, arson, robbery, sexual battery, unnatural intercourse with any child under the age of twelve (12), or nonconsensual unnatural intercourse with mankind, or in any attempt to commit such felonies;
(6) When done with or without any design to effect death, by any person engaged in the commission of the crime of felonious abuse and/or battery of a child in violation of subsection (2) of Section 97-5-39, or in any attempt to commit such felony;
(7) Murder which is perpetrated on educational property as defined in Section 97-37-17;
(8) Murder which is perpetrated by the killing of any elected official of a county, municipal, state or federal government with knowledge that the victim was such public official.


Missouri: 565.032.1 RSMO

(1)  The offense was committed by a person with a prior record of conviction for murder in the first degree, or the offense was committed by a person who has one or more serious assaultive criminal convictions;
(2)  The murder in the first degree offense was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission or attempted commission of another unlawful homicide;
(3)  The offender by his or her act of murder in the first degree knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person by means of a weapon or device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person;
(4)  The offender committed the offense of murder in the first degree for himself or herself or another, for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value from the victim of the murder or another;
(5)  The murder in the first degree was committed against a judicial officer, former judicial officer, prosecuting attorney or former prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney or former circuit attorney, assistant prosecuting attorney or former assistant prosecuting attorney, assistant circuit attorney or former assistant circuit attorney, peace officer or former peace officer, elected official or former elected official during or because of the exercise of his official duty;
(6)  The offender caused or directed another to commit murder in the first degree or committed murder in the first degree as an agent or employee of another person;
(7)  The murder in the first degree was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, or depravity of mind;
(8)  The murder in the first degree was committed against any peace officer, or fireman while engaged in the performance of his or her official duty;
(9)  The murder in the first degree was committed by a person in, or who has escaped from, the lawful custody of a peace officer or place of lawful confinement;
(10)  The murder in the first degree was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or custody in a place of lawful confinement, of himself or herself or another;
(11)  The murder in the first degree was committed while the defendant was engaged in the perpetration or was aiding or encouraging another person to perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate a felony of any degree of rape, sodomy, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, or any felony offense in chapter 195 or 579;
(12)  The murdered individual was a witness or potential witness in any past or pending investigation or past or pending prosecution, and was killed as a result of his or her status as a witness or potential witness;
(13)  The murdered individual was an employee of an institution or facility of the department of corrections of this state or local correction agency and was killed in the course of performing his or her official duties, or the murdered individual was an inmate of such institution or facility;
(14)  The murdered individual was killed as a result of the hijacking of an airplane, train, ship, bus or other public conveyance;
(15)  The murder was committed for the purpose of concealing or attempting to conceal any felony offense defined in chapter 195 or 579;
(16)  The murder was committed for the purpose of causing or attempting to cause a person to refrain from initiating or aiding in the prosecution of a felony offense defined in chapter 195 or 579;
(17)  The murder was committed during the commission of an offense which is part of a pattern of criminal street gang activity as defined in section 578.421.


Montana: Mont. Code Ann. § 46-18-303
(1)

(a) The offense was deliberate homicide and was committed: 

(i) by an offender while in official detention, as defined in 45-2-101
(ii) by an offender who had been previously convicted of another deliberate homicide; 
(iii) by means of torture; 
(iv) by an offender lying in wait or ambush; 
(v) as a part of a scheme or operation that, if completed, would result in the death of more than one person; or 
(vi) by an offender during the course of committing sexual assault, sexual intercourse without consent, deviate sexual conduct, or incest, and the victim was less than 18 years of age. 

(b) The offense was deliberate homicide, as defined in 45-5-102(1)(a), and the victim was a peace officer killed while performing the officer's duty. 

(2) The offense was aggravated kidnapping that resulted in the death of the victim or the death by direct action of the offender of a person who rescued or attempted to rescue the victim. 
(3) The offense was attempted deliberate homicide, aggravated assault, or aggravated kidnapping committed while in official detention, as defined in 45-2-101, by an offender who has been previously: 

(a) convicted of the offense of deliberate homicide; or 
(b) found to be a persistent felony offender pursuant to part 5 of this chapter, and one of the convictions was for an offense against the person in violation of Title 45, chapter 5, for which the minimum prison term is not less than 2 years. 

(4) The offense was sexual intercourse without consent, the offender has a previous conviction of sexual intercourse without consent in this state or of an offense under the laws of another state or of the United States that if committed in this state would be the offense of sexual intercourse without consent, and the offender inflicted serious bodily injury upon a person in the course of committing each offense.


Nebraska: Nebraska Revised Statute 29-2523

(1) The offender was previously convicted of another murder or a crime involving the use or threat of violence to the person, or has a substantial prior history of serious assaultive or terrorizing criminal activity;
(2) The murder was committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime, or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of such crime;
(3) The murder was committed for hire, or for pecuniary gain, or the defendant hired another to commit the murder for the defendant;
(4) The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence;
(5) At the time the murder was committed, the offender also committed another murder;
(6) The offender knowingly created a great risk of death to at least several persons;
(7) The victim was a public servant having lawful custody of the offender or another in the lawful performance of his or her official duties and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was a public servant performing his or her official duties;
(8) The murder was committed knowingly to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of the laws; or
(9) The victim was a law enforcement officer engaged in the lawful performance of his or her official duties as a law enforcement officer and the offender knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a law enforcement officer.

Nevada: NRS 200.033

(1) The murder was committed by a person under sentence of imprisonment.
(2) The murder was committed by a person who, at any time before a penalty hearing is conducted for the murder pursuant to NRS 175.552, is or has been convicted of:

(a) Another murder and the provisions of subsection 12 do not otherwise apply to that other murder; or
(b) A felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person of another and the provisions of subsection 4 do not otherwise apply to that felony.

(3) The murder was committed by a person who knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person by means of a weapon, device or course of action which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person.
(4) The murder was committed while the person was engaged, alone or with others, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any robbery, arson in the first degree, burglary, invasion of the home or kidnapping in the first degree, and the person charged:

(a) Killed or attempted to kill the person murdered; or
(b) Knew or had reason to know that life would be taken or lethal force used.

(5) The murder was committed to avoid or prevent a lawful arrest or to effect an escape from custody.
(6) The murder was committed by a person, for himself or herself or another, to receive money or any other thing of monetary value.
(7) The murder was committed upon a peace officer or firefighter who was killed while engaged in the performance of his or her official duty or because of an act performed in his or her official capacity, and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a peace officer or firefighter. For the purposes of this subsection, “peace officer” means:

(a) An employee of the Department of Corrections who does not exercise general control over offenders imprisoned within the institutions and facilities of the Department, but whose normal duties require the employee to come into contact with those offenders when carrying out the duties prescribed by the Director of the Department.
(b) Any person upon whom some or all of the powers of a peace officer are conferred pursuant to NRS 289.150 to 289.360, inclusive, when carrying out those powers.

(8)  The murder involved torture or the mutilation of the victim.
(9) The murder was committed upon one or more persons at random and without apparent motive.
(10) The murder was committed upon a person less than 14 years of age.
(11) The murder was committed upon a person because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation of that person.
(12) The defendant has, in the immediate proceeding, been convicted of more than one offense of murder in the first or second degree. For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to have been convicted of a murder at the time the jury verdict of guilt is rendered or upon pronouncement of guilt by a judge or judges sitting without a jury.
(13) The person, alone or with others, subjected or attempted to subject the victim of the murder to nonconsensual sexual penetration immediately before, during or immediately after the commission of the murder. For the purposes of this subsection:

(a) “Nonconsensual” means against the victim’s will or under conditions in which the person knows or reasonably should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting, consenting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct, including, but not limited to, conditions in which the person knows or reasonably should know that the victim is dead.
(b) “Sexual penetration” means cunnilingus, fellatio or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the victim’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person, alone or with others, into the genital or anal openings of the body of the victim, whether or not the victim is alive. The term includes, but is not limited to, anal intercourse and sexual intercourse in what would be its ordinary meaning.

(14) The murder was committed on the property of a public or private school, at an activity sponsored by a public or private school or on a school bus while the bus was engaged in its official duties by a person who intended to create a great risk of death or substantial bodily harm to more than one person by means of a weapon, device or course of action that would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person. For the purposes of this subsection, “school bus” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 483.160.
(15) The murder was committed with the intent to commit, cause, aid, further or conceal an act of terrorism. For the purposes of this subsection, “act of terrorism” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 202.4415.


New Hampshire: RSA 630:1
A person is guilty of capital murder if he knowingly causes the death of: 
       (1) A law enforcement officer or a judicial officer acting in the line of duty or when the death is caused as a consequence of or in retaliation for such person's actions in the line of duty; 
       (2) Another before, after, while engaged in the commission of, or while attempting to commit kidnapping as that offense is defined in RSA 633:1; 
       (3) Another by criminally soliciting a person to cause said death or after having been criminally solicited by another for his personal pecuniary gain; 
       (4) Another after being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole pursuant to RSA 630:1-a, III; 
       (5) Another before, after, while engaged in the commission of, or while attempting to commit aggravated felonious sexual assault as defined in RSA 632-A:2; 
       (6) Another before, after, while engaged in the commission of, or while attempting to commit an offense punishable under RSA 318-B:26, I(a) or (b); or 
       (7) Another, who is licensed or privileged to be within an occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied section thereof, before, after, or while in the commission of, or while attempting to commit, burglary as defined in RSA 635:1. 

New Jersey: (death penalty abolished, Dec. 2007)
(1)The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel or depraved (or involved torture)
(2) The capital offense was committed during the commission of, attempt of, or escape from a specified felony (such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, arson, oral copulation, train wrecking, carjacking, criminal gang activity, drug dealing, or aircraft piracy)
(3) The defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death for one or more persons in addition to the victim of the offense
(4) The murder was committed by means of a bomb, destructive device, explosive, or similar device
(5) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value
(6) The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder, or the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, promise of payment, or anything of pecuniary value
(7) The murder was committed to avoid or prevent arrest, to effect an escape, or to conceal the commission of a crime
(8) The defendant has been convicted of, or committed, a prior murder, a felony involving violence, or other serious felony
(9) The defendant was a drug dealer or has prior convictions involving the distribution of a controlled substance as a leader of a narcotics trafficking network or at the direction of a leader of a narcotics trafficking network
(10)The victim was less than 14 years old
(11)The defendant murdered a public servant while the victim was engaged in the performance of his official duties, or because of the victim’s status as a public servant
(12)The murder was committed during the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, terrorism
(13)Murder was committed during the crime of contempt in violation of an order of protection for domestic violence

New Mexico: (death penalty abolished 2009)
(1)The capital offense was committed during the commission of, attempt of, or escape from a specified felony (such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, arson, oral copulation, train wrecking, carjacking, criminal gang activity, drug dealing, or aircraft piracy)
(2) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value
(3) The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder, or the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, promise of payment, or anything of pecuniary value
(4) The murder was committed to avoid or prevent arrest, to effect an escape, or to conceal the commission of a crime
(5) The capital offense was committed by a person who is incarcerated, has escaped, is on probation, is in jail, or is under a sentence of imprisonment
(6)The victim was a peace officer who was acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty when he was murdered
(7)The defendant with the intent to kill murdered an employee of the corrections and criminal rehabilitation department
(8)The murder was committed against a witness or a potential witness in a criminal or civil proceeding to prevent the witness from appearing, or for revenge
(9)The defendant engaged in espionage

New York: (no valid death penalty statute)
(1)The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel or depraved (or involved torture)
(2) The capital offense was committed during the commission of, attempt of, or escape from a specified felony (such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, arson, oral copulation, train wrecking, carjacking, criminal gang activity, drug dealing, or aircraft piracy)
(3) The defendant committed or attempted to commit more than one murder at the same time
(4) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value
(5) The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder, or the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, promise of payment, or anything of pecuniary value
(6) The defendant has been convicted of, or committed, a prior murder, a felony involving violence, or other serious felony
(7) The capital offense was committed by a person who is incarcerated, has escaped, is on probation, is in jail, or is under a sentence of imprisonment
(8)The victim was a police officer or a peace officer who was engaged in his official duties at the time of the killing and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the intended victim was such an officer
(9)The victim was a correctional officer
(10) The murder was committed against a witness, a potential witness, or a family member of a witness in a criminal or civil proceeding to prevent the witness from appearing, or for revenge
(11)The victim was killed in furtherance of an act of terrorism


North Carolina: NCGS §15A-2000

(1) The capital felony was committed by a person lawfully incarcerated.
(2) The defendant had been previously convicted of another capital felony or had been previously adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile proceeding for committing an offense that would be a capital felony if committed by an adult.
(3) The defendant had been previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person or had been previously adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile proceeding for committing an offense that would be a Class A, B1, B2, C, D, or E felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person if the offense had been committed by an adult.
(4) The capital felony was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or effecting an escape from custody.
(5) The capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an aider or abettor, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any homicide, robbery, rape or a sex offense, arson, burglary, kidnapping, or aircraft piracy or the unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.
(6) The capital felony was committed for pecuniary gain.
(7) The capital felony was committed to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of laws.
(8) The capital felony was committed against a law-enforcement officer, employee of the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety, jailer, fireman, judge or justice, former judge or justice, prosecutor or former prosecutor, juror or former juror, or witness or former witness against the defendant, while engaged in the performance of his official duties or because of the exercise of his official duty.
(9) The capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.
(10) The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person by means of a weapon or device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person.
(11) The murder for which the defendant stands convicted was part of a course of conduct in which the defendant engaged and which included the commission by the defendant of other crimes of violence against another person or persons.

Ohio: O.R.C. secs. 2903.01, 2929.02, and 2929.04

(1) The offense was the assassination of the president of the United States or a person in line of succession to the presidency, the governor or lieutenant governor of this state, the president-elect or vice president-elect of the United States, the governor-elect or lieutenant governor-elect of this state, or a candidate for any of the offices described in this division. For purposes of this division, a person is a candidate if the person has been nominated for election according to law, if the person has filed a petition or petitions according to law to have the person's name placed on the ballot in a primary or general election, or if the person campaigns as a write-in candidate in a primary or general election.
(2) The offense was committed for hire.
(3) The offense was committed for the purpose of escaping detection, apprehension, trial, or punishment for another offense committed by the offender.
(4) The offense was committed while the offender was under detention or while the offender was at large after having broken detention. As used in division (A)(4) of this section, "detention" has the same meaning as in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code, except that detention does not include hospitalization, institutionalization, or confinement in a mental health facility or intellectual disabilities facility unless at the time of the commission of the offense either of the following circumstances apply:

(a) The offender was in the facility as a result of being charged with a violation of a section of the Revised Code.
(b) The offender was under detention as a result of being convicted of or pleading guilty to a violation of a section of the Revised Code.

(5) Prior to the offense at bar, the offender was convicted of an offense an essential element of which was the purposeful killing of or attempt to kill another, or the offense at bar was part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful killing of or attempt to kill two or more persons by the offender.
(6) The victim of the offense was a law enforcement officer, as defined in section 2911.01 of the Revised Code, whom the offender had reasonable cause to know or knew to be a law enforcement officer as so defined, and either the victim, at the time of the commission of the offense, was engaged in the victim's duties, or it was the offender's specific purpose to kill a law enforcement officer as so defined.
(7) The offense was committed while the offender was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, aggravated robbery, or aggravated burglary, and either the offender was the principal offender in the commission of the aggravated murder or, if not the principal offender, committed the aggravated murder with prior calculation and design.
(8) The victim of the aggravated murder was a witness to an offense who was purposely killed to prevent the victim's testimony in any criminal proceeding and the aggravated murder was not committed during the commission, attempted commission, or flight immediately after the commission or attempted commission of the offense to which the victim was a witness, or the victim of the aggravated murder was a witness to an offense and was purposely killed in retaliation for the victim's testimony in any criminal proceeding.
(9) The offender, in the commission of the offense, purposefully caused the death of another who was under thirteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense, and either the offender was the principal offender in the commission of the offense or, if not the principal offender, committed the offense with prior calculation and design.
(10) The offense was committed while the offender was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit terrorism.


Oklahoma: 21 Okl. St. Ann. § 701.12

(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.

Oregon: ORS 163.095

(1) The defendant committed the murder pursuant to an agreement that the defendant receive money or other thing of value for committing the murder.
(2) The defendant solicited another to commit the murder and paid or agreed to pay the person money or other thing of value for committing the murder.
(3) The defendant committed murder after having been convicted previously in any jurisdiction of any homicide, the elements of which constitute the crime of murder as defined in ORS 163.115 (Murder) or manslaughter in the first degree as defined in ORS 163.118 (Manslaughter in the first degree).
(4) There was more than one murder victim in the same criminal episode as defined in ORS 131.505 (Definitions for ORS 131.505 to 131.525).
(5) The homicide occurred in the course of or as a result of intentional maiming or torture of the victim.
(6) The victim of the intentional homicide was a person under the age of 14 years.
(7) The victim was one of the following and the murder was related to the performance of the victim’s official duties in the justice system:

(A) A police officer as defined in ORS 181A.355 (Definitions for ORS 181A.355 to 181A.670);
(B) A correctional, parole and probation officer or other person charged with the duty of custody, control or supervision of convicted persons;
(C) A member of the Oregon State Police;
(D) A judicial officer as defined in ORS 1.210 (Judicial officer defined);
(E) A juror or witness in a criminal proceeding;
(F) An employee or officer of a court of justice;
(G) A member of the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision; or
(H) A regulatory specialist.

(8) The defendant was confined in a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility or was otherwise in custody when the murder occurred.
(9) The defendant committed murder by means of an explosive as defined in ORS 164.055 (Theft in the first degree).
(10) Notwithstanding ORS 163.115 (Murder) (1)(b), the defendant personally and intentionally committed the homicide under the circumstances set forth in ORS 163.115 (Murder) (1)(b).
(11) The murder was committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime, or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of a crime.
(12) The murder was committed after the defendant had escaped from a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility and before the defendant had been returned to the custody of the facility.


Pennsylvania: 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711

(1)  The victim was a firefighter, peace officer, public servant concerned in official detention, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5121 (relating to escape), judge of any court in the unified judicial system, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, a deputy attorney general, district attorney, assistant district attorney, member of the General Assembly, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Auditor General, State Treasurer, State law enforcement official, local law enforcement official, Federal law enforcement official or person employed to assist or assisting any law enforcement official in the performance of his duties, who was killed in the performance of his duties or as a result of his official position.
(2)  The defendant paid or was paid by another person or had contracted to pay or be paid by another person or had conspired to pay or be paid by another person for the killing of the victim.
(3)  The victim was being held by the defendant for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage.
(4)  The death of the victim occurred while defendant was engaged in the hijacking of an aircraft.
(5)  The victim was a prosecution witness to a murder or other felony committed by the defendant and was killed for the purpose of preventing his testimony against the defendant in any grand jury or criminal proceeding involving such offenses.
(6)  The defendant committed a killing while in the perpetration of a felony.
(7)  In the commission of the offense the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim of the offense.
(8)  The offense was committed by means of torture.
(9)  The defendant has a significant history of felony convictions involving the use or threat of violence to the person.
(10)  The defendant has been convicted of another Federal or State offense, committed either before or at the time of the offense at issue, for which a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable or the defendant was undergoing a sentence of life imprisonment for any reason at the time of the commission of the offense.
(11)  The defendant has been convicted of another murder committed in any jurisdiction and committed either before or at the time of the offense at issue.
(12)  The defendant has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2503 (relating to voluntary manslaughter), or a substantially equivalent crime in any other jurisdiction, committed either before or at the time of the offense at issue.
(13)  The defendant committed the killing or was an accomplice in the killing, as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 306(c) (relating to liability for conduct of another; complicity), while in the perpetration of a felony under the provisions of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, and punishable under the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508 (relating to drug trafficking sentencing and penalties).
(14)  At the time of the killing, the victim was or had been involved, associated or in competition with the defendant in the sale, manufacture, distribution or delivery of any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act or similar law of any other state, the District of Columbia or the United States, and the defendant committed the killing or was an accomplice to the killing as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 306(c), and the killing resulted from or was related to that association, involvement or competition to promote the defendant's activities in selling, manufacturing, distributing or delivering controlled substances or counterfeit controlled substances.
(15)  At the time of the killing, the victim was or had been a nongovernmental informant or had otherwise provided any investigative, law enforcement or police agency with information concerning criminal activity and the defendant committed the killing or was an accomplice to the killing as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 306(c), and the killing was in retaliation for the victim's activities as a nongovernmental informant or in providing information concerning criminal activity to an investigative, law enforcement or police agency.
(16)  The victim was a child under 12 years of age.
(17)  At the time of the killing, the victim was in her third trimester of pregnancy or the defendant had knowledge of the victim's pregnancy.
(18)  At the time of the killing the defendant was subject to a court order restricting in any way the defendant's behavior toward the victim pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to protection from abuse) or any other order of a court of common pleas or of the minor judiciary designed in whole or in part to protect the victim from the defendant.


South Carolina: § 16-3-20(C)(a)

(1) The murder was committed while in the commission of the following crimes or acts:

(a) criminal sexual conduct in any degree;
(b) kidnapping;
(c) trafficking in persons;
(d) burglary in any degree;
(e) robbery while armed with a deadly weapon;
(f) larceny with use of a deadly weapon;
(g) killing by poison;
(h) drug trafficking as defined in Section 44-53-370(e), 44-53-375(B), 44-53-440, or 44-53-445;
(i) physical torture;
(j) dismemberment of a person; or
(k) arson in the first degree as defined in Section 16-11-110(A).

(2) The murder was committed by a person with a prior conviction for murder.
(3) The offender by his act of murder knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person in a public place by means of a weapon or device which normally would be hazardous to the lives of more than one person.
(4) The offender committed the murder for himself or another for the purpose of receiving money or a thing of monetary value.
(5) The murder of a judicial officer, former judicial officer, solicitor, former solicitor, or other officer of the court during or because of the exercise of his official duty.
(6) The offender caused or directed another to commit murder or committed murder as an agent or employee of another person.
(7) The murder of a federal, state, or local law enforcement officer or former federal, state, or local law enforcement officer, peace officer or former peace officer, corrections officer or former corrections officer, including a county or municipal corrections officer or a former county or municipal corrections officer, a county or municipal detention facility employee or former county or municipal detention facility employee, or fireman or former fireman during or because of the performance of his official duties.
(8) The murder of a family member of an official listed in subitems (5) and (7) above with the intent to impede or retaliate against the official. "Family member" means a spouse, parent, brother, sister, child, or person to whom the official stands in the place of a parent or a person living in the official's household and related to him by blood or marriage.
(9) Two or more persons were murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct.
(10) The murder of a child eleven years of age or under.
(11) The murder of a witness or potential witness committed at any time during the criminal process for the purpose of impeding or deterring prosecution of any crime.
(12) The murder was committed by a person deemed a sexually violent predator pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 48, Title 44, or a person deemed a sexually violent predator who is released pursuant to Section 44-48-120.

South Dakota: 23A-27A-1
(1) The offense was committed by a person with a prior record of conviction for a Class A or Class B felony, or the offense of murder was committed by a person who has a felony conviction for a crime of violence as defined in subdivision 22-1-2(9); 
(2) The defendant by the defendant's act knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person in a public place by means of a weapon or device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person; 
(3) The defendant committed the offense for the benefit of the defendant or another, for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value; 
(4)  The defendant committed the offense on a judicial officer, former judicial officer, prosecutor, or former prosecutor while such prosecutor, former prosecutor, judicial officer, or former judicial officer was engaged in the performance of such person's official duties or where a major part of the motivation for the offense came from the official actions of such judicial officer, former judicial officer, prosecutor, or former prosecutor; 
(5)The defendant caused or directed another to commit murder or committed murder as an agent or employee of another person; 
(6)  The offense was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated battery to the victim. Any murder is wantonly vile, horrible, and inhuman if the victim is less than thirteen years of age; 
(7) The offense was committed against a law enforcement officer, employee of a corrections institution, or firefighter while engaged in the performance of such person's official duties; 
(8) The offense was committed by a person in, or who has escaped from, the lawful custody of a law enforcement officer or place of lawful confinement; 
(9) The offense was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or custody in a place of lawful confinement, of the defendant or another; or 
(10) The offense was committed in the course of manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing substances listed in Schedules I and II in violation of § 22-42-2. 

Tennessee: Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-204

(1)  The murder was committed against a person less than twelve (12) years of age and the defendant was eighteen (18) years of age or older;
(2)  The defendant was previously convicted of one (1) or more felonies, other than the present charge, whose statutory elements involve the use of violence to the person;
(3)  The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to two (2) or more persons, other than the victim murdered, during the act of murder;
(4)  The defendant committed the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration, or employed another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration;
(5)  The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death;
(6)  The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another;
(7)  The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, or was fleeing after having a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, any first degree murder, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, aircraft piracy, or unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;
(8)  The murder was committed by the defendant while the defendant was in lawful custody or in a place of lawful confinement or during the defendant's escape from lawful custody or from a place of lawful confinement;
(9)  The murder was committed against any law enforcement officer, corrections official, corrections employee, probation and parole officer, emergency medical or rescue worker, emergency medical technician, paramedic or firefighter, who was engaged in the performance of official duties, and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a law enforcement officer, corrections official, corrections employee, probation and parole officer, emergency medical or rescue worker, emergency medical technician, paramedic or firefighter engaged in the performance of official duties;
(10)  The murder was committed against any present or former judge, district attorney general or state attorney general, assistant district attorney general or assistant state attorney general, due to or because of the exercise of the victim's official duty or status and the defendant knew that the victim occupied such office;
(11)  The murder was committed against a national, state, or local popularly elected official, due to or because of the official's lawful duties or status, and the defendant knew that the victim was such an official;
(12)  The defendant committed “mass murder,” which is defined as the murder of three (3) or more persons, whether committed during a single criminal episode or at different times within a forty-eight-month period;
(13)  The defendant knowingly mutilated the body of the victim after death;
(14)  The victim of the murder was seventy (70) years of age or older; or the victim of the murder was particularly vulnerable due to a significant handicap or significant disability, whether mental or physical, and at the time of the murder the defendant knew or reasonably should have known of such handicap or disability; or
(15)  The murder was committed in the course of an act of terrorism.


Texas: Tex. Penal Code § 19.03

(1) the person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;
(2) the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat under Section 22.07(a)(1), (3), (4), (5), or (6);
(3) the person commits the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employs another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration;
(4) the person commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution;
(5) the person, while incarcerated in a penal institution, murders another:

(A) who is employed in the operation of the penal institution; or
(B) with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination;

(6) the person:

(A) while incarcerated for an offense under this section or Section 19.02, murders another; or
(B) while serving a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of 99 years for an offense under Section 20.04, 22.021, or 29.03, murders another;

(7) the person murders more than one person:

(A) during the same criminal transaction; or
(B) during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct;

(8) the person murders an individual under 10 years of age; or
(9) the person murders another person in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court.
 

Utah: 76-5-202, Utah Code Annotated

(1) the homicide was committed by a person who is confined in a jail or other correctional institution;
(2) the homicide was committed incident to one act, scheme, course of conduct, or criminal episode during which two or more persons were killed, or during which the actor attempted to kill one or more persons in addition to the victim who was killed;
(3) the actor knowingly created a great risk of death to a person other than the victim and the actor;
(4) the homicide was committed incident to an act, scheme, course of conduct, or criminal episode during which the actor committed or attempted to commit aggravated robbery, robbery, rape, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, forcible sodomy, sodomy upon a child, forcible sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, child abuse as defined in Subsection 76-5-109(2)(a), or aggravated sexual assault, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated burglary, burglary, aggravated kidnapping, or kidnapping, or child kidnapping;
(5) the homicide was committed incident to one act, scheme, course of conduct, or criminal episode during which the actor committed the crime of abuse or desecration of a dead human body as defined in Subsection 76-9-704(2)(e);
(6) the homicide was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest of the defendant or another by a peace officer acting under color of legal authority or for the purpose of effecting the defendant's or another's escape from lawful custody;
(7) the homicide was committed for pecuniary gain;
(8) the defendant committed, or engaged or employed another person to commit the homicide pursuant to an agreement or contract for remuneration or the promise of remuneration for commission of the homicide; (i) the actor previously committed or was convicted of:

(i) aggravated murder under this section;
(ii) attempted aggravated murder under this section;
(iii) murder, Section 76-5-203;
(iv) attempted murder, Section 76-5-203; or
(v) an offense committed in another jurisdiction which if committed in this state would be a violation of a crime listed in this Subsection (1)(i);

(9) the actor was previously convicted of:

(i) aggravated assault, Subsection 76-5-103(2);
(ii) mayhem, Section 76-5-105;
(iii) kidnapping, Section 76-5-301;
(iv) child kidnapping, Section 76-5-301.1;
(v) aggravated kidnapping, Section 76-5-302;
(vi) rape, Section 76-5-402;
(vii) rape of a child, Section 76-5-402.1;
(viii) object rape, Section 76-5-402.2;
(ix) object rape of a child, Section 76-5-402.3;
(x) forcible sodomy, Section 76-5-403;
(xi) sodomy on a child, Section 76-5-403.1;
(xii) aggravated sexual abuse of a child, Section 76-5-404.1; Utah Code Page 2
(xiii) aggravated sexual assault, Section 76-5-405;
(xiv) aggravated arson, Section 76-6-103;
(xv) aggravated burglary, Section 76-6-203;
(xvi) aggravated robbery, Section 76-6-302;
(xvii) felony discharge of a firearm, Section 76-10-508.1; or
(xviii) an offense committed in another jurisdiction which if committed in this state would be a violation of a crime listed in this Subsection (1)(j);

(10) the homicide was committed for the purpose of:

(i) preventing a witness from testifying;
(ii) preventing a person from providing evidence or participating in any legal proceedings or official investigation;
(iii) retaliating against a person for testifying, providing evidence, or participating in any legal proceedings or official investigation; or
(iv) disrupting or hindering any lawful governmental function or enforcement of laws;

(11) the victim is or has been a local, state, or federal public official, or a candidate for public office, and the homicide is based on, is caused by, or is related to that official position, act, capacity, or candidacy;
(12) the victim is or has been a peace officer, law enforcement officer, executive officer, prosecuting officer, jailer, prison official, firefighter, judge or other court official, juror, probation officer, or parole officer, and the victim is either on duty or the homicide is based on, is caused by, or is related to that official position, and the actor knew, or reasonably should have known, that the victim holds or has held that official position;
(13) the homicide was committed:

(i) by means of a destructive device, bomb, explosive, incendiary device, or similar device which was planted, hidden, or concealed in any place, area, dwelling, building, or structure, or was mailed or delivered; or
(ii) by means of any weapon of mass destruction as defined in Section 76-10-401;

(14) the homicide was committed during the act of unlawfully assuming control of any aircraft, train, or other public conveyance by use of threats or force with intent to obtain any valuable consideration for the release of the public conveyance or any passenger, crew member, or any other person aboard, or to direct the route or movement of the public conveyance or otherwise exert control over the public conveyance;
(15) the homicide was committed by means of the administration of a poison or of any lethal substance or of any substance administered in a lethal amount, dosage, or quantity;
(16) the victim was a person held or otherwise detained as a shield, hostage, or for ransom;
(17) the homicide was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or exceptionally depraved manner, any of which must be demonstrated by physical torture, serious physical abuse, or serious bodily injury of the victim before death;
(18) the actor dismembers, mutilates, or disfigures the victim's body, whether before or after death, in a manner demonstrating the actor's depravity of mind; or
(19) the victim, at the time of the death of the victim:

(i) was younger than 14 years of age; and
(ii) was not an unborn child.

Virginia: VA Code § 18.2-31

(1) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person in the commission of abduction, as defined in § 18.2-48, when such abduction was committed with the intent to extort money or a pecuniary benefit or with the intent to defile the victim of such abduction; 
(2) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person by another for hire; 
(3) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person by a prisoner confined in a state or local correctional facility as defined in § 53.1-1, or while in the custody of an employee thereof; 
(4) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person in the commission of robbery or attempted robbery; 
(5) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person in the commission of, or subsequent to, rape or attempted rape, forcible sodomy or attempted forcible sodomy or object sexual penetration; 
(6) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of a law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101, a fire marshal appointed pursuant to § 27-30 or a deputy or an assistant fire marshal appointed pursuant to § 27-36, when such fire marshal or deputy or assistant fire marshal has police powers as set forth in §§ 27-34.2 and 27-34.2:1, an auxiliary police officer appointed or provided for pursuant to §§ 15.2-1731 and 15.2-1733, an auxiliary deputy sheriff appointed pursuant to § 15.2-1603, or any law-enforcement officer of another state or the United States having the power to arrest for a felony under the laws of such state or the United States, when such killing is for the purpose of interfering with the performance of his official duties; 
(7) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of more than one person as a part of the same act or transaction; 
(8) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of more than one person within a three-year period; 
(9) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person in the commission of or attempted commission of a violation of § 18.2-248, involving a Schedule I or II controlled substance, when such killing is for the purpose of furthering the commission or attempted commission of such violation; 
(10) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person by another pursuant to the direction or order of one who is engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise as defined in subsection I of § 18.2-248
(11) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of a pregnant woman by one who knows that the woman is pregnant and has the intent to cause the involuntary termination of the woman’s pregnancy without a live birth; 
(12) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of a person under the age of fourteen by a person age twenty-one or older; 
(13) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person by another in the commission of or attempted commission of an act of terrorism as defined in § 18.2-46.4
(14) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeals, a judge of a circuit court or district court, a retired judgesitting by designation or under temporary recall, or a substitute judge appointed under § 16.1-69.9:1 when the killing is for the purpose of interfering with his official duties as a judge; and 
(15) The willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any witness in a criminal case after a subpoena has been issued for such witness by the court, the clerk, or an attorney, when the killing is for the purpose of interfering with the person’s duties in such case. 


Washington: RCW 10.95.020

(1) The victim was a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or firefighter who was performing his or her official duties at the time of the act resulting in death and the victim was known or reasonably should have been known by the person to be such at the time of the killing;
(2) At the time of the act resulting in the death, the person was serving a term of imprisonment, had escaped, or was on authorized or unauthorized leave in or from a state facility or program for the incarceration or treatment of persons adjudicated guilty of crimes;
(3) At the time of the act resulting in death, the person was in custody in a county or county-city jail as a consequence of having been adjudicated guilty of a felony;
(4) The person committed the murder pursuant to an agreement that he or she would receive money or any other thing of value for committing the murder;
(5) The person solicited another person to commit the murder and had paid or had agreed to pay money or any other thing of value for committing the murder;
(6) The person committed the murder to obtain or maintain his or her membership or to advance his or her position in the hierarchy of an organization, association, or identifiable group;
(7) The murder was committed during the course of or as a result of a shooting where the discharge of the firearm, as defined in RCW 9.41.010, is either from a motor vehicle or from the immediate area of a motor vehicle that was used to transport the shooter or the firearm, or both, to the scene of the discharge;
(8) The victim was:

(a) A judge; juror or former juror; prospective, current, or former witness in an adjudicative proceeding; prosecuting attorney; deputy prosecuting attorney; defense attorney; a member of the indeterminate sentence review board; or a probation or parole officer; and
(b) The murder was related to the exercise of official duties performed or to be performed by the victim;

(9) The person committed the murder to conceal the commission of a crime or to protect or conceal the identity of any person committing a crime, including, but specifically not limited to, any attempt to avoid prosecution as a persistent offender as defined in RCW 9.94A.030;
(10) There was more than one victim and the murders were part of a common scheme or plan or the result of a single act of the person;
(11) The murder was committed in the course of, in furtherance of, or in immediate flight from one of the following crimes:

(a) Robbery in the first or second degree;
(b) Rape in the first or second degree;
(c) Burglary in the first or second degree or residential burglary;
(d) Kidnapping in the first degree; or
(e) Arson in the first degree;

(12) The victim was regularly employed or self-employed as a newsreporter and the murder was committed to obstruct or hinder the investigative, research, or reporting activities of the victim;
(13) At the time the person committed the murder, there existed a court order, issued in this or any other state, which prohibited the person from either contacting the victim, molesting the victim, or disturbing the peace of the victim, and the person had knowledge of the existence of that order;
(14) At the time the person committed the murder, the person and the victim were "family or household members" as that term is defined in *RCW 10.99.020(1), and the person had previously engaged in a pattern or practice of three or more of the following crimes committed upon the victim within a five-year period, regardless of whether a conviction resulted:

(a) Harassment as defined in RCW 9A.46.020; or
(b) Any criminal assault.


Wyoming: W.S.A. § 6-2-101(a)

(1) The murder was committed by a person:

(A) Confined in a jail or correctional facility;
(B) On parole or on probation for a felony;
(C) After escaping detention or incarceration; or
(D) Released on bail pending appeal of his conviction.

(2) The defendant was previously convicted of another murder in the first degree or a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person;
(3) The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to two (2) or more persons;
(4) The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an accomplice, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any aircraft piracy or the unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;
(5) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or effecting an escape from custody;
(6) The murder was committed for compensation, the collection of insurance benefits or other similar pecuniary gain;
(7) The murder was especially atrocious or cruel, being unnecessarily torturous to the victim;
(8) The murder of a judicial officer, former judicial officer, district attorney, former district attorney, defending attorney, peace officer, juror or witness, during or because of the exercise of his official duty or because of the victim's former or present official status;
(9) The defendant knew or reasonably should have known the victim was less than seventeen (17) years of age or older than sixty-five (65) years of age;
(10) The defendant knew or reasonably should have known the victim was especially vulnerable due to significant mental or physical disability;
(11) The defendant poses a substantial and continuing threat of future dangerousness or is likely to commit continued acts of criminal violence;
(12) The defendant killed another human being purposely and with premeditated malice and while engaged in, or as an accomplice in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping or abuse of a child under the age of sixteen (16) years.


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Death Penalty for Offenses Other Than Murder
 
As it relates to crimes against individuals, though, the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim’s life was not taken.
     -Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008)

 

INTRODUCTION

The death penalty in the United States is used almost exclusively for the crime of murder. Although state and federal statutes contain various capital crimes other than those involving the death of the victim, only two people were on death row for a non-murder offense (Patrick Kennedy and Richard Davis in Louisiana) when the U.S. Supreme Court addressed this issue in 2008. No one has been executed for such a crime since the death penalty was re-instated in 1976. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, held that the death penalty for the rape of an adult was "grossly disproportionate" and an "excessive punishment," and hence was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. The Court looked at the relatively few states that allowed the death penalty for rape and the few death sentences that had been handed down.

Some states passed new laws allowing the death penalty for the rape of a child. In 2007, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Patrick Kennedy for the rape of his step-daughter, LOUISIANA v. KENNEDY (No. 05-KA-1981, May 22, 2007). Kennedy was convicted in 2003. However, Louisiana's law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, 2008. See Kennedy v. Louisiana for more information. This decision also held that the death penalty would be disproportionate for any offense against an individual that did not involve death of the victim.
 


Death Penalty Statutes for the Rape of a Child (before Kennedy v. Louisiana)


 

STATES OFFENSES ENACTED DEATH SENTENCES/EXECUTIONS NOTES
Texas Second conviction for rape of a child under 14; first offense could have occurred prior to law's passage; Bill HB 8 2007 0/0 Passed by legislature; signed by governor on July 16, 2007
Oklahoma Rape or forcible sodomy of a victim under 14 where the defendant had a prior conviction of sexual abuse of a person under 14; 10 Okl. St. Ann. § 7115(I) 2006 0/0  
South Carolina Repeat offenders of criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11;
S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-655(C)(I)
2006 0/0  
Montana Second conviction for sexual intercourse without consent accompanied by serious bodily injury;
Mont. Code Ann. sec. 45-5-503
1997 0/0 Statute covers all ages of victims, but has specific provisions if the victim is 12 or under.
Louisiana Aggravated rape of a child under 13;
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. sec. 14:42(D)(2)
1995 2/0 Statute upheld in State v. Kennedy on May 22, 2007; similar statute upheld in State v. Wilson, 685 So.2d 1063, 1073 (La. 1996) but defendant did not receive a death sentence. Victim under age 13, rather than 12, was added more recently (Acts 2003, 2006).  Sentences overturned by U.S. Sup. Ct. in Kennedy v. La.
Georgia Carnal knowledge of a female who is less than 10 presumes force;
Ga. Code Ann. sec. 16-6-1
1999 0/0 In 2006, Georgia's legislature revoked its general capital rape statute, but it is unclear whether the rape of a minor could be pursued as a capital crime.
U.S. Military 10 U. S. C. §856; Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, Part II, Ch. X, Rule 1004(c)(9) (2008); id., Part IV, ¶45.f(1). Modified 2006 0/0 Although the impact of Congress' modification of the military law is unclear, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that military law does not impact the evaluation of the national consensus regarding the death penalty for child rape under civilian law.

 


Unclear Death Penalty Statutes for the Rape of a Child


 

STATES OFFENSES ENACTED EXISTING DEATH SENTENCES/EXECUTIONS NOTES
Florida (?) Sexual battery or attempted sexual battery with injury of a child under 12;
Fla. Stat. Ann. sec. 794.011
1974 0/0 Buford v. State, 403 So. 2d 943, 951 (Fla. 1981), held that Fla.'s rape statute was unconstitutional, but upheld defendant's death sentence because victim had also been murdered. Statute has not been repealed but appears unconstitutional. See Welsh v. State, 850 So. 2d 467, 468 n.1 (Fla. 2003) (reference to capital crime only "historical").


 


Other State Statutes allowing the death penalty for non-murder crimes


Although no one is on death row for the following crimes, capital offenses exist in state law for various other crimes:

Treason (Arkansas, Calif., Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Washington)
Aggravated kidnapping (Co., Idaho, Il., Missouri, Mont.)
Drug trafficking (Fl., Missouri)
Aircraft hijacking (Ga., Mo.)
Placing a bomb near a bus terminal (Mo.)
Espionage (New Mexico)
Aggravated assault by incarcerated, persistent felons, or murderers (Mont.)

 


Federal capital statutes for non-murder crimes (no one on death row for such offenses)


Espionage (18 U.S.C. 794)
Treason (18 U.S.C. 2381)
Trafficking in large quantities of drugs (18 U.S.C. 3591(b))
Attempting, authorizing or advising the killing of any officer, juror,or witness in cases involving a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, regardless of whether such killing actually occurs (18 U.S.C. 3591(b)(2))


Sources:


Jeffrey Kirchmeier, "Casting a Wider Net: Another Decade of Legislative Expansion of the Death Penalty in the United States," 34 Pepperdine Law Review 1, 16-17 and n.86 (2006).

STATE OF LOUISIANA v. PATRICK KENNEDY (La. Sup. Ct., No. 05-KA-1981, May 22, 2007), at 37-56 (reviewing laws allowing the death penalty for crimes that do not involve murder).

Marion Quirk, Memo: Death Penalty - Sexual Crimes (June 13, 2006) (on file with DPIC).

See also Crimes Punishable by Death Penalty.


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Alabama




Death Penalty Eligible Crime: Intentional Murder
(Ala. Stat. Ann. 13A-5-40(a)(1)-(18)).
Aggravating Factors (Ala. Stat. Ann. 13A-5-49)
Mitigating Factors (Ala. Stat. Ann. 13A-5-51 and 13A-5-52)

Definition of Intentional Murder (Ala. Stat. Ann. 13A-5-40(a)(1)-(18):

 


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