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What is a Depraved Heart Killing?

Taking the life of another human being is one of the most egregious crimes a person can commit. This crime is not only inflicted on the deceased, but also on the friends and family who must now cope with the absence of a loved one. When the loss of human life was intentional, it is known as first degree murder and is punishable by death in the state of Florida.

However, not every murder is committed so directly. Reckless behavior can lead to another person’s death even when that was not the intent. When a person’s deliberately callous or dangerous actions cause an innocent person’s death, it is legally known as second degree murder, also called a depraved heart killing. A person convicted of this crime can face both criminal and civil charges.

If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s criminally reckless behavior, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Jacksonville depraved heart killing attorney Don Guthrie, P.A. can help you understand your legal options.

Defining “Depraved Heart”

In order to be found guilty of second degree murder, it must be shown that the defendant:

  • Acted in a way that any reasonable person would consider highly dangerous
  • Was motivated by hatred, spite, or cruel intent
  • Showed a disregard for the victim’s life

In a criminal court, all of the above must be shown beyond reasonable doubt. In civil court, however, the plaintiff only need show a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, a Jacksonville wrongful death attorney’s job is to show that the plaintiff’s version of the story is more likely than other explanations.

Contact Us

Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer Don Guthrie, P.A. is committed to treating each case with the passion and attention to detail it deserves. Contact our offices today at 904-296-1088.








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6622 Southpoint Drive South #150
Jacksonville, FL 32216
Phone: (904) 269-1088
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The Law Offices of Donald D. Guthrie |  6622 Southpoint Drive South #150 JacksonvilleFL  32216 |  Phone: (904) 296-1088 |  Directions | Don Guthrie+

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