2006 Ohio Revised Code - 2903.01. Aggravated murder.

§ 2903.01. Aggravated murder.

(A)  No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy. 

(B)  No person shall purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy while committing or attempting to commit, or while fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit, kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, terrorism, or escape. 

(C)  No person shall purposely cause the death of another who is under thirteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense. 

(D)  No person who is under detention as a result of having been found guilty of or having pleaded guilty to a felony or who breaks that detention shall purposely cause the death of another. 

(E)  No person shall purposely cause the death of a law enforcement officer whom the offender knows or has reasonable cause to know is a law enforcement officer when either of the following applies: 

(1) The victim, at the time of the commission of the offense, is engaged in the victim's duties. 

(2) It is the offender's specific purpose to kill a law enforcement officer. 

(F)  Whoever violates this section is guilty of aggravated murder, and shall be punished as provided in section 2929.02 of the Revised Code. 

(G)  As used in this section: 

(1) "Detention" has the same meaning as in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code. 

(2) "Law enforcement officer" has the same meaning as in section 2911.01 of the Revised Code. 

HISTORY: 134 v H 511 (Eff 1-1-74); 139 v S 1 (Eff 10-19-81); 146 v S 239 (Eff 9-6-96); 147 v S 32 (Eff 8-6-97); 147 v H 5 (Eff 6-30-98); 147 v S 193 (Eff 12-29-98); 149 v S 184. Eff 5-15-2002.

Not analogous to former RC § 2903.01 (GC § 12423-1; 109 v 45; 121 v 557 (572); Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 126 v 114), repealed 134 v H 511, § 2, eff 1-1-74.


19xx Committee Report or Comment.

1974 Committee Comment to H 511

The first part of this section restates the former crime of premeditated murder so as to embody the classic concept of the planned, cold-blooded killing while discarding the notion that only an instant's prior deliberation is necessary. By judicial interpretation of the former Ohio law, murder could be premeditated even though the fatal plan was conceived and executed on the spur of the moment. See, State v. Schaffer, 113 OApp 125, 17 O.O. 2d 114, 177 N.E.2d 534 (Lawrence Co. App., 1960). The section employs the phrase, "prior calculation and design," to indicate studied care in planning or analyzing the means of the crime, as well as a scheme compassing the death of the victim. Neither the degree of care nor the length of time the offender takes to ponder the crime beforehand are critical factors in themselves, but they must amount to more than momentary deliberation. 

The second part of the section defines the offense of felony murder. The requirement that the killing must be purposeful is retained. See, Turk v. State, 48 OApp 489, 2 O.O. 96, 194 N.E. 425 (Cuyahoga Co. App., 1934), aff'd 129 Ohio St. 245, 194 N.E. 453. The section expands upon the former offense of felony murder by listing kidnapping and escape, in addition to rape, arson, robbery and burglary, as the felonies during which a purposeful killing constitutes aggravated murder. 

Aggravated murder is a capital offense, for which the penalty may be death or imprisonment for life. In addition, the offender may be fined up to $25,000. If any one of seven aggravating circumstances is specified in the indictment and proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and none of three mitigating circumstances is established by a preponderance of the evidence, the penalty is death. Otherwise, the penalty is life imprisonment. The penalties, the procedure for determining the penalty to be imposed in a given case, and the lists of aggravating and mitigating circumstances are set forth in sections 2929.02, 2929.03, and 2929.04. 

Transition - capital offenses.

Persons charged with a capital offense committed prior to January 1, 1974, must be tried under the law as it existed at the time of the offense and, if convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment. If the section defining the offense provides for a lesser penalty under the circumstances of a particular case, then the lesser penalty must be imposed in that case. 

Persons committing aggravated murder (the only capital offense in the new code) on and after January 1, 1974, must be charged and tried under the new law and, if convicted, may be subject to the death penalty. See, sections 2903.01, 2929.02 to 2929.04, and 2941.14. 

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