In just five hours on June 16, 2020, six people lost their lives in Louisville shootings. The violence and unrest in Louisville may be responsible for the increase in homicides throughout the city.

According to one news outlet, shootings increased by 105 percent during the same period from last year. Homicides increased by more than 30 percent during the same period.

The shootings occurred in several locations throughout the city. One of the shootings occurred at Louisville Extreme Park. According to the Louisville Metro Police, one man died and four people were wounded when a gunfight broke out at 2:30 a.m. Investigators believe over 100 rounds were fired during the gunfight.

­Another shooting occurred around 11:30 p.m. near the Chickasaw neighborhood. A teenager had a gunshot wound, but the shooting happened elsewhere.

Police reported that seven people were shot near a liquor store at Ormsby Avenue and Dixie Highway. All seven people were transported to the hospital where one person died. Another man was found in the Jacobs neighborhood on Georgetown Place and transported to University Hospital.

Another teen went to Audubon Hospital with a gunshot wound. Police believe he may have been shot at The Bellamy apartments.

Homicide or Murder – Does It Matter?

Yes, it does matter whether the charges against you are for murder or homicide. Homicide means that you are responsible for taking another person’s life. Homicide includes reckless homicide, manslaughter, and murder.

A murder occurs when you intentionally take another person’s life. You had malice and forethought when you committed the act that resulted in another person’s death. The state must prove that you intended to take a life and that your actions resulted in the victim’s death.

The exact charges matter. Murder is a capital offense. The state enforces the death penalty for capital crimes.

Being charged with a lesser offense, such as manslaughter or reckless homicide, could help you avoid the death penalty. For a homicide conviction, you could face decades of life in prison, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in Murder Cases in Kentucky

Not all murder cases have the same outcome, even if the circumstances were similar. There are a number of aggravating and mitigating factors that determine how severe the charges are.

Aggravating Factors

As in many states, Kentucky has identified aggravating factors that can enhance a murder conviction. Aggravating factors increase the penalty for a murder conviction.

According to KRS 532.025, aggravating factors include:

  • prior convictions for capital offenses;
  • the victim was a prison employee and the defendant was a prisoner;
  • the killing was intentional and resulted in multiple fatalities;
  • the defendant murdered someone while committing other criminal acts, such as burglary, robbery, or rape;
  • the crime involved a weapon of mass destruction, which placed others in a public place in great danger;
  • the act was a murder for hire;
  • the victim as a public official or a law enforcement agent; and,
  • the victim was under a domestic violence order, emergency protective order, or other protective order.

An experienced attorney can help you defend yourself if the state attempts to elevate the penalties or charges in your case by introduing aggravating factors.

Mitigating Factors

The defendant has the right to present mitigating factors at trial. Mitigating factors may result in a reduced sentence.

The jury can hear mitigating circumstances, such as:

  • the defendant has no criminal history or no significant criminal history;
  • the defendant’s capacity to understand the crime was impaired by intellectual disability, intoxication, or mental illness;
  • the victim consented to a criminal act or participated in a criminal act;
  • the defendant acted under duress;
  • the act occurred when the defendant was under extreme mental or emotional distress;
  • the defendant believed his or her actions had a moral justification; or,
  • another person committed the murder and the defendant’s role in the capital offense was relatively minor.

Mitigating factors alone generally do not result in an acquittal on charges of murder. You need to prepare and present a strong defense to the homicide charges. A homicide defense attorney can review your case and help you with your defense.

Potential Defenses to Murder Charges in Kentucky

A good defense begins with exercising your right to remain silent except for asking for a lawyer. Talking to the police never helps your case. You only give the police more information to use against you in court.

Therefore, if you are investigated for homicide or arrested for homicide, do not cooperate with the police. Politely and respectfully tell officers you will not answer questions or provide a statement without an attorney.

State that you want an attorney. Do not ask if you need a lawyer.

Also, do not fall for the argument from police officers that if you are innocent you do not need an attorney. When you ask for a lawyer and refuse to answer questions, you are smart.

Potential defenses to a homicide or murder charge include, but are not limited to:

  • self-defense or defense of another person
  • mistaken identity
  • lack of criminal intent
  • violations of constitutional rights
  • lack of mental capacity
  • accident
  • insanity

There could be other defense to your murder charges. Working with an attorney allows you to explore all options to decide which defense strategy gives you the best chance for success, given the facts of your case.