Manslaughter Charges in Oklahoma

Manslaughter Charges in OklahomaManslaughter Charges in Oklahoma are complex and serious in nature. Most people are aware of the death of former pop singer, Michael Jackson.  At 50 years old, the singer was found unconscious after receiving a dose of propofol from his personal doctor, Conrad Murray.  Propofol, normally an anesthetic for surgery patients, was negligently used as a sleep aid for Jackson.  In 2010, Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years in prison on second degree manslaughter charges.  Manslaughter is subject to a lesser penalty than murder.  Read on to better understand manslaughter charges in Oklahoma and its penalties. 

What Constitutes First and Second Degree Manslaughter:

Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 711 defines first degree manslaughter.  In order to qualify as first degree, or voluntary, manslaughter the State must prove:

  1. death of someone other than the defendant;
  2. without intent to kill;
  3. while defendant commits a misdemeanor crime, is in the heat of passion, or uses excessive force to defend a third person; and
  4. the person dies in a cruel or unusual manner.

Because Dr. Murray did not use excessive force or administer the propofol in the heat of passion, he received charges on second degree, or involuntary, manslaughter instead.  The elements for second degree manslaughter are slightly different.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21 §716 defines it as:  “Every killing of one human being by the act, procurement or culpable negligence of another, which….is not murder, nor manslaughter in the first degree, nor excusable nor justifiable homicide, is manslaughter in the second degree.”

Penalties and How We Help You:

The penalties for first degree manslaughter charges in Oklahoma are harsh.  A person receiving this type of conviction is subject to a prison sentence of 4 years to life.  The penalties for second degree manslaughter are somewhat lesser, but still have undesirable consequences.  They include prison sentences from 2 to 4 years and possible fines up to $1,000.  Therefore, if you are facing charges on first or second degree manslaughter, contact us.  Our attorneys have experience defending clients from manslaughter charges.  Call us for a free consultation or read more about criminal charges in Oklahoma on our OKC attorneys blog.