Most people, when they think of “murder,” think of an intentional killing. However, here in Maryland, that is only one of two kinds of second-degree murder the law recognizes. In addition to intentional murder, there’s also what the law calls “depraved-heart” murder, where you can be just as culpable (and face equally severe punishments,) even though you had no intent to kill anyone. Sometimes, though, prosecutors in this state will charge “depraved-heart” murder in cases where the facts or the law actually don’t add up to murder. As a defendant, getting justice means, even if you don’t get an acquittal on all charges, you defeat those alleged crimes that the state overcharged. To best protect yourself if you’ve been overcharged, you need representation from an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer.
A well-known recent second-degree murder case, which involved an eccentric millionaire and the house fire that killed the man who worked for him, is a good example of this issue of the state overcharging depraved heart murder.
D.B., a wealthy man in his 20s living in Bethesda, had a strong fear of a North Korean nuclear strike. To protect himself, he hired men to dig a series of tunnels and a bunker beneath his home.