This past Thursday, Ricky N. Murphy was shot to death on Scenic Drive in Cookeville, Tennessee. The next day, the Cookeville Police Department arrested a 28-year-old man and charged him with first-degree-murder. Allegedly, an argument between the two men escalated into a physical altercation and, ultimately, murder. The defendant has a $3,000,000 bond.
First degree murder is a premeditated and intentional killing of another. T.C.A. § 39-13-202. According to the statute, “Premeditation means that the intent to kill must have been formed prior to the act itself. It is not necessary that the purpose to kill preexist in the mind of the accused for any definite period of time. The mental state of the accused at the time the accused allegedly decided to kill must be carefully considered in order to determine whether the accused was sufficiently free from excitement and passion as to be capable of premeditation.”
A jury is allowed to infer premeditation from the manner and circumstances of the killing. State v. Bland, 958 S.W.2d 651, 660 (Tenn. 1997). Circumstances that support a finding of premeditation include “declarations by the defendant of an intent to kill, evidence of procurement of a weapon, the use of a deadly upon an unarmed victim, the particular cruelty of the killing, infliction of multiple wounds, preparation before the killing for concealment of the crime, destruction or secretion of evidence of the murder, and calmness immediately after the killing.” State v. Nichols, 24 S.W.3d 297, 302 (Tenn. 2000). Also, the jury may infer premeditation from the “[e]stablishment of a motive for the killing.” State v. Leach, 148 S.W.3d 42, 54 (Tenn. 2004).
If convicted, the defendant will be sentenced to:
(2) Imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole; or
(3) Imprisonment for life.
T.C.A. § 39-13-202(c).
When facing serious charges like this, it is critical to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Small details can determine life or death.