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You could face murder charges in Oklahoma without killing anyone

One of the biggest mistakes people make who are charged with, but innocent of, murder is thinking the system will save them from conviction. The legal system works well in bringing guilty parties to justice, but it is not without its flaws. Convicting people of murder even though they did not kill anyone is one of the system's most tragic flaws.

Consider an Oklahoma case from 1996. Two men entered a home and allegedly committed a series of brutal crimes against the home's occupants. Afterwards, one man returned to the car while the other man killed at least two people in the home. The man who did not kill anyone was put to death on a conviction of felony murder. The actual killer appealed his murder conviction and had his death sentence downgraded to life imprisonment.

Oklahoma is one of many states with a felony murder charge. In most cases, only guilty parties receive the death penalty, but the charge has been known to doom people who never murdered anyone. The hinge point for many of these cases is that the defendant was allegedly involved in criminal activity when someone was killed.

Robbery and even assault are not the same as taking a life. However, you put your freedom and your life at risk by not seeking a strong defense from the outset when facing murder charges. Never assume that your innocence alone will keep you safe from a murder conviction. Instead, seek counsel from a criminal defense attorney with experience in murder cases. Otherwise, you could find yourself languishing in prison for life, or facing imminent death.

Source: The Marshall Project, "Charged With Murder Without Killing Anyone," Christie Thompson, accessed April 10, 2017

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