“Premeditated” Murder

In movies and on television, we hear the words “premeditated murder” on a daily basis. What exactly does “premeditation” mean?

In Florida, in order to convict someone of first degree murder, the state has to prove that the killing of a human being was perpetrated from a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed. The essential element distinguishing 1st degree murder from 2nd degree murder is premeditation.

Premeditation can be formed in a moment and has to only exist long enough for the accused to be conscious of the nature of the act he or she is about to commit and the probable result of the act. Premeditation can occur a second before the intentional killing. Under Florida law, there are factors to consider when determining whether or not the killing was premeditated. They are:

1. the nature of the weapon used
2. the presence or absence of provocation
3. prior disputes between the parties
4. the way in which the killing was committed
5. the type of wounds inflicted