2012 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 53a - Penal Code
Chapter 952 - Penal Code: Offenses
Section 53a-54b - Murder with special circumstances.


CT Gen Stat § 53a-54b (2012) What's This?

A person is guilty of murder with special circumstances who is convicted of any of the following: (1) Murder of a member of the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or of any local police department, a chief inspector or inspector in the Division of Criminal Justice, a state marshal who is exercising authority granted under any provision of the general statutes, a judicial marshal in performance of the duties of a judicial marshal, a constable who performs criminal law enforcement duties, a special policeman appointed under section 29-18, a conservation officer or special conservation officer appointed by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection under the provisions of section 26-5, an employee of the Department of Correction or a person providing services on behalf of said department when such employee or person is acting within the scope of such employee’s or person’s employment or duties in a correctional institution or facility and the actor is confined in such institution or facility, or any firefighter, while such victim was acting within the scope of such victim’s duties; (2) murder committed by a defendant who is hired to commit the same for pecuniary gain or murder committed by one who is hired by the defendant to commit the same for pecuniary gain; (3) murder committed by one who has previously been convicted of intentional murder or of murder committed in the course of commission of a felony; (4) murder committed by one who was, at the time of commission of the murder, under sentence of life imprisonment; (5) murder by a kidnapper of a kidnapped person during the course of the kidnapping or before such person is able to return or be returned to safety; (6) murder committed in the course of the commission of sexual assault in the first degree; (7) murder of two or more persons at the same time or in the course of a single transaction; or (8) murder of a person under sixteen years of age.

(P.A. 73-137, S. 3; P.A. 77-604, S. 39, 84; 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 80-335; P.A. 85-144; P.A. 92-260, S. 27; P.A. 95-16, S. 4; P.A. 98-126, S. 1; P.A. 00-99, S. 120, 154; P.A. 01-84, S. 10, 26; 01-151, S. 3, 5; P.A. 11-51, S. 134; 11-80, S. 1; P.A. 12-5, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 77-604 substituted “chief inspector or inspector in the division of criminal justice” for “county detective” in Subdiv. (1); P.A. 77-614 made state police department a division within the department of public safety, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-335 added Subdivs. (7) and (8) making murder in course of committing sexual assault in first degree and murder of two or more persons at same time a capital felony; P.A. 85-144 amended Subdiv. (6) by adding “economic” and deleting the proviso that the seller was not, at the time of such sale, a drug-dependent person; P.A. 92-260 made technical changes in Subdivs. (1) and (3); P.A. 95-16 added Subdiv. (9) re murder of a person under 16 years of age; P.A. 98-126 amended Subdiv. (1) to replace “an official of the Department of Correction authorized by the Commissioner of Correction to make arrests in a correctional institution or facility” with “an employee of the Department of Correction or a person providing services on behalf of said department when such employee or person is acting within the scope of his employment or duties in a correctional institution or facility and the actor is confined in such institution or facility”; P.A. 00-99 amended Subdiv. (1) to replace reference to sheriff and deputy sheriff with provision re state marshal exercising statutory authority and judicial marshal in performance of duties, effective December 1, 2000; P.A. 01-84 replaced “fireman” with “firefighter” and made other technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 01-151 amended Subdiv. (1) to include the murder of a conservation officer or special conservation officer appointed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection under the provisions of Sec. 26-5, deleted former Subdiv. (6) re the illegal sale, for economic gain, of cocaine, heroin or methadone to a person who dies as a direct result of the use of such cocaine, heroin or methadone, redesignating existing Subdivs. (7), (8) and (9) as Subdivs. (6), (7) and (8), and made technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality, effective July 1, 2001; pursuant to P.A. 11-51, “Department of Public Safety” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 12-5 substituted “murder with special circumstances” for “capital felony”, effective April 25, 2012, and applicable to crimes committed on or after that date.

See Sec. 53a-54a re murder.

See Sec. 53a-54c re felony murder.

See Sec. 53a-54e re construction of statutes re capital felony committed prior to April 25, 2012.

Cited. 32 CA 38; 36 CA 364; 42 CA 348; 43 CA 549; 45 CA 207.

Cited 42 CS 426.

Subdiv. (1):

Conviction for felony murder under Sec. 53a-54c cannot serve as the predicate murder for the crime of capital felony under this section; term “murder” in capital felony statute may be applied only to intentional murder. 241 C. 702. In order to satisfy the element that police officer had been “acting within the scope of his duties”, the state was only required to prove that police officer was acting in the good faith discharge of his official duties when he stopped defendant and attempted to subdue him. 264 C. 1.

Cited. 41 CA 604.

Subdiv. (2):

Capital felony murder discussed. 199 C. 163. Cited. 203 C. 420. Evidence that codefendant said “I’ve got a job for you” and that defendant made preparations for the murder and received a snowmobile after the victim was killed was sufficient to support finding of probable cause that defendant committed murder for pecuniary gain; defendant, having been hired to kill the victim, could be held accessorily liable for capital felony under Subdiv. even if jury found that codefendant, who was not a party to any hiring relationship, was the principal actor who killed the victim; hiring element contemplates a bargained for exchange involving pecuniary gain as consideration for the commission of the murder, and the mere receipt of money or property before or after the murder is not sufficient to hold defendant liable under Subdiv. 305 C. 101.

Cited. 19 CA 111; judgment reversed, see 215 C. 538; 41 CA 604.

Subdiv. (3):

Cited. 41 CA 604; 45 CA 390.

Subdiv. (5):

Cited. 197 C. 436; 213 C. 388. Provision does not require that kidnapping be accompanied by a demand for ransom. 249 C. 645. Trial court properly instructed jury that its verdict of guilty on charge of intentional murder would provide the predicate for criminal liability under Subdiv. 263 C. 478.

Cited. 41 CA 604.

Subdiv. (6):

Cited. 233 C. 174. State need only prove that the murder in a kidnap-murder or sexual-assault murder was aggravated in order to establish the aggravating factor. 269 C. 213.

Cited. 41 CA 604.

Subdiv. (7):

Cited. 205 C. 298; 237 C. 694. Double jeopardy clause not violated where defendant convicted for two counts of capital felony; evidence indicated that the murders occurred in two sets, at distinctly separate times. 260 C. 339.

Cited. 41 CA 604.

Subdiv. (8):

Cited. 206 C. 213; 207 C. 374; 208 C. 125; 209 C. 225; 212 C. 258; 213 C. 708; 218 C. 349; 221 C. 430; 229 C. 125; 233 C. 813. Only an intentional murder can be a predicate murder to capital felony charge under section. 238 C. 828. Cited. 241 C. 322; Id., 702; 242 C. 93. Proper construction to be given to term “in the course of a single transaction” is that there need only be some nexus between murders, that the murders be connected by a common purpose or plan in order to be “in the course of a single transaction”; does not require murders to be at the same time in order to constitute “in the course of a single transaction”; temporal relationship between murders is not an absolute prerequisite to prosecution under Subdiv. 254 C. 578. Read together, Sec. 53a-54(a) and this Subdiv. provide that conviction of intentional murder under doctrine of transferred intent may be the predicate for conviction of capital felony under this Subdiv. when victim is under sixteen, regardless of defendant’s subjective state of mind. 265 C. 35. Knowledge of the victim’s age is not an element of Subdiv. Id. To limit applicability of Subdiv. to cases in which state can prove that defendant knew or reasonably should have known the age of his victim would be both impracticable and inconsistent with the legislative intent. Id. Legislature had rational basis for classifying intentional murder of a person under the age of sixteen as a capital felony. 272 C. 106.

Cited. 38 CA 581; 41 CA 604.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Connecticut may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.