Heat of Passion Induced by Sudden Combat

Sudden combat involves a mutual and sudden assault by both the deceased and the defendant.  In sudden combat, physical contact, even a single blow, may amount to reasonable provocation.  Whether the contact is sufficient depends on whether a reasonable person under similar circumstances would have been provoked to act out of emotion rather than reasoned reflection. 

The heat of passion induced by sudden combat must also be sudden; in other words, the killing must have occurred before a reasonable person would have regained control of his or her emotions and the defendant must have acted in the heat of passion without cooling off at the time of the killing.  If the prosecutor cannot prove the absence of heat of passion induced by sudden combat, the prosecutor has not proven the required malice.

Because the prosecutor is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed an unlawful killing with malice, and has not proved the absence of any mitigating circumstances, the jury must find the defendant 'not guilty' of Murder, but would be justified in finding the defendant guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter.

If you have been charged with Murder in Massachusetts, it is critical that you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7.  To schedule a Free Consultation to discuss your criminal case, Contact Us Online or call him directly at 617-325-9500.