Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney R.J. Manuelian Discussing the Drew Peterson Murder Trial





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Published on Aug 10, 2012

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney - 213-401-2777.

Manuelian Law Firm
633 West 5th Street, Suite 2622
Los Angeles, California 90071
(213) 401-2777

R.J. Manuelian on Fox News Happening Now with Jenna Lee discussing the Drew Peterson murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Manuelian discusses trial strategies, the burden of proof and reasonable doubt defenses. RJ Manuelian was able to get murder charges (which carried the death penalty) against his client dismissed in 2012.


A charge of murder in the state of California is an extremely serious offense. With penalties ranging from 15 years to life in prison to death (for a second-degree murder conviction) and confinement for life without possibility of parole to 25 years to life (for a first-degree murder conviction), a murder conviction will affect your life and the lives of your loved ones for decades. With consequences like these, you need a strong defense strategy to gain the best possible outcome of a murder charge.

According to PC 187, the California law governing the crime of murder, murder is defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought." This means that any killing of another, whether deliberate or not, that occurred intentionally or that occurred while you were engaged in an action that you knew could result in a death can be legally classified as murder. In contrast to an accident or unfortunate circumstance that results in death, murder is a crime that has severe penalties attached to it.

Breakdown of Penalties for Murder in California

California law breaks down types of murder in relation to the penalties associated with the crime as follows, with some specific distinctions that depend upon the circumstances surrounding the murder.

First degree murder -- A deliberate action with the intent to willfully take the life of another. For instance, a first degree murder charge might result from someone killing another after first going to their residence with the intention of killing him or her, lying in wait to kill a
specific individual as he or she goes about their daily activities, or involve a killing that is carried out using an explosive or destructive device.

Second degree murder ‍-- An action that results in the death of another where there was no provocation or intent to kill the victim, or when a killing is the result of circumstances in which someone was killed when the defendant was engaged in an unlawful activity (a death that results from a severe beating, an illegal abortion, during a robbery or other felony, etc.)

Capital murder -- A murder designation that considers over 20 special circumstances that have a death penalty attached to them or a life sentence without possibility of parole. Capital murder penalties usually involve the murder of more than one victim, murder for financial gain, murder of a police officer, fireman, elected official, murder of someone to keep them from testifying, murder in gang related instances, etc.

Defenses for Murder in California

Defending a murder charge is complex, requiring not only legal expertise and experience in handling of the case, but the additional resources of investigators, forensic specialists, jury consultants and other types of experts. Defenses that are typically offered in defense of a murder charge include:

Self-defense or defense of others
A claim of accidental killing
A claim of insanity
A coerced or false confession
An illegal search or seizure
A mistaken identity

R.J. Manuelian Is an Experienced Los Angeles Attorney Who Defends Those Charged with Murder

A murder conviction changes your life and the lives of your loved ones forever. If you have been arrested or charged with murder, it is imperative that you seek experienced legal representation before speaking to anyone about the incident or event that triggered your arrest. You have the right to an attorney's presence during all aspects of your arrest process.

R.J. Manuelian is an experienced California criminal defense attorney you can trust to stand up for your rights should you be arrested or charged with murder. Contact him for assistance if you have been accused or arrested for murder.

For more specific information on your Los Angeles Criminal cases please call us and we can discuss your specific situation. (213) 401-2777.


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