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Isenberg & Hewitt, PC | A Business And Personal Injury Law Firm | Since 1989
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Arson and felony murder charges: How they relate

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2020 | Negligent Security

Arson is a felony on its own. Many arsonists, however, do not plan to harm anyone. They believe they are setting fire to empty structures. The goal is to cause property damage, but not to cause injury or take a life. 

However, arson is incredibly dangerous and things can go south quickly. For instance, a person could set fire to an empty garage, not knowing that a homeowner is looking for something in the attic at the time. That person could then pass away in the fire. Regardless of the fact that the arsonist had no intent to take a life, they still caused someone’s death while committing a felony, which is often referred to as felony murder. 

A similar example is when they actually do set fire to an empty structure, such as a warehouse. Firefighters then respond to the blaze in an effort to put it out and protect the property. In the process, two firefighters end up getting trapped inside the building. One of them dies and the other suffers catastrophic injuries. No one may have been in the building when the arsonist set the fire, but they can still face felony murder charges in a case like this. 

This may seem pretty straightforward, but people often are a bit unclear on how it works because the intent is usually one of the key elements of a murder case. Using the idea of felony murder, though, people can still face serious charges for causing death even without intending to do so or knowing that anyone was in danger. 

Those who have lost loved ones or suffered serious injuries as a result of someone else’s criminal activity need to know exactly what rights they have. There are times when a landlord can be held accountable for negligent security and the injuries suffered by victims of crime on their property. 



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