In this article, we’ll explain what voluntary manslaughter is, how it differs from murder and involuntary manslaughter, and provide 14 examples of actual cases where the defendant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
Examples of Voluntary Manslaughter (Background Info and Real World Cases From The News)
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What Is Voluntary Manslaughter?
Voluntary manslaughter is a crime that fits between murder and involuntary manslaughter.
In each time of crime, there is an “intent” element that the government has to prove.
The intent element might be “intentional” or “knowing” or “reckless” or “negligent.”
The intent in voluntary manslaughter cases (which may also be called manslaughter in the first degree, depending on where the case is located), is often:
- reckless under circumstances showing an extreme indifference to the value of human life,
- intentional under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance,
- reckless with the use of a vehicle, or
- reckless after having been convicted of other crimes.
While there are many ways to be charged with voluntary manslaughter, most people know of it because it is famously called the “crime of passion” charge, with the most common example being a man killing after coming home to find his wife with another man.
Obviously, the definition of voluntary manslaughter (or the degree of manslaughter) is going to be different depending upon the case located.
But it is helpful to lay out at least some differences so that you can tell the difference between involuntary manslaughter and murder.
What is Involuntary Manslaughter?
Involuntary manslaughter (may also be 2nd or 3rd degree manslaughter) is an act that resulted in the death of another, when there was no intent to cause that death.
We often see people charged with involuntary manslaughter in car crashes, where the driver who caused the crash was under the influence of intoxicants, distracted by electronic devices, or fell asleep.
How Is Murder Different?
There may be different degrees of murder, like there may be with manslaughter.
Murder is generally the premeditated killing of another.
However, some states bring other conduct in that can give rise to murder, such as intentionally hurting someone badly enough to cause death, even though the defendant only intended the terrible hurts (and not the death).
Examples of Voluntary Manslaughter From The News
In September of 2021, 27-year old Kenneth Andrew Whitaker was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Whitaker was alleged to have assaulted his partner in a domestic violence episode in their home. She later died of her injuries at the hospital. Whitaker was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
In September of 2021, 23-year old Jahshua Jarrett was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 11 years in prison. Jarrett was allegedly discovered by his girlfriend while he prepared to commit suicide with a firearm. She wrestled with him over the firearm to try and stop him, which discharged, killing her.
In September of 2021, Quotase Jenrette was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was shot a man in the head. The victim apparently met Jenrette outside of his house to look at Jenrette’s gun.
In August of 2021, Tavion Johnson was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Johnson was married to the victim in the case, and charged after the victim was brought to the hospital after a “suspicious fall.” Johnson had previously been convicted of committing domestic violence crimes against his wife. Relevant allegations include that John delayed in getting his wife help and tried to get rid of the evidence.
William Beck Usilton III
In July of 2021, William Beck Usilton III was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He originally claimed that he shot the victim in self-defense. It is alleged that the victim was let into Usilton’s house by Usilton’s girlfriend to obtain some items. They either argued before the shooting or earlier in the night after coming back from a bar.
In April of 2021, Deonte Ellison was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The relevant facts alleged include that: a woman and a young girl who may have been the daughter of either the defendant of the victim were walking on the street when the victim approached them to give the girl a hug, and that Ellison then fought with the victim and shot him.
In April of 2021, Kylr Yust was convicted of voluntary manslaughter (and murder) in the deaths of two women killed almost 10 years apart. One of the women went missing after she took out a restraining order against Yust in 2007, while the other was last seek leaving a party with Yust in 2016.
In July of 2021, Danielle Marceau was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Court records indicated that the defendant and the victim was under the influence of intoxicants, had argued, that defendant stabbed the victim, and efforts had been made to clean up the evidence.
In June of 2021, Derek Whitt was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The victim was shot outside of a bar by the defendant after the defendant’s fiancée and the victim got into an argument.
In April of 2021, Troy West-Sturdevant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter after he allegedly hit and killed a man in a parking lot with his car. The death occurred allegedly after the victim and defendant argued at a bar.
In August of 2021, Louis Littlejohn was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The defendant was alleged to have shot the victim after an argument over who should have custody of the defendant’s grandson. The child may have been in the arms of the victim at the time of the shooting. He received a 9 year sentence.
In January of 2021, Tyler Dabney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. Evidence suggested that the victim came to the defendant’s apartment building to purchase drugs, and then refused to leave. A physical fight resulted, and the victim was shot and killed.
In June of 2021, Hans Banks was convicted of voluntary manslaughter after allegedly strangling a friend with a string of Christmas lights during an argument.
In June of 2021, Trustin Begay was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. Evidence submitted in the case states that the defendant stabbed a man he had just met multiple times, and then later threatened to do the same to someone else.
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