Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Felonious Homicide Definition:

The killing of a human being without justification or excuse.

Related Terms: Homicide, Justifiable Homicide, Excusable Homicide, First Degree Murder

Willliam Blackstone postulated that homicide (aka murder) was of three varieties, justifiable homicide, excusable homicide and felonious homicide.

Today, those distinctions still exist albeit with different terminology in many common law jurisdictions. Some refer to murder to a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree. Others distinguish between culpable and not culpable homicide.

Blackstone defined felonious homicide as follows:

"Felonious homicide is ... the killing of a human creature, of any age or sex, without justification or excuse."

In the era of William Blackstone, suicide was a species of felonious homicide and was considered to be so egregious offense that the body of the dead "offender" was buried under a highway with a stake driven through the body and all his or her property forfeited to the monarch.


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