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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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The Difference Between Murder and Homicide


At a glance, many words in the legal system are often used as if they are equal and interchangeable. However, in many situations, doing so is incorrect. Among the many terms that are often mistakenly used this way is murder and homicide. The difference between the two may not seem big, but the terms used in a case make a world of difference.


Murder is defined by three different degrees, all of which have an unlawful and generally unjustifiable basis. For example, first-degree murder involves premeditation and intent. Whether the perpetrator has a motive or not, it is simply killing another person without just cause. Second-degree murder involved killing someone without pre-planning or pre-mediation, essentially killing another person for the sake of doing so. Finally, third-degree murder, often categorized as manslaughter, involves the intent of harming someone that results in death even if death was not intended.


Homicide differs from murder in a few key ways. Among them, homicide is still killing another person, but in a circumstance that could be considered justifiable. For example, many self-defense cases that result in the death of another person are considered homicide. A person would, for example, kill a person who is posing a threat to their life. In these kinds of cases, other factors beyond the death of the person are considered in court when sentencing a defendant.

The category that a killing falls under makes a world of difference in court and fighting a murder conviction requires a strong defense and legal expertise. It could mean the difference between extensive jail time, a criminal record, and many extraordinarily high fines and penalties.


If you or someone you know in New Jersey is facing charges for murder or homicide, you need to contact an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney who could fight for you. Contact former prosecutor John Tumelty today to schedule a case consultation by calling 609-390-4600 or contact online.

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