Malice murder vs felony murder: A look at charges slain toddler Quinton Simon's mom Leilani is facing
Warning: This article contains recollection of the crime that could be triggering to some readers. Discretion is advised.
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CHATHAM COUNTY, GEORGIA: A grand jury in Chatham County indicted Leilani Simon of felony charges on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. She is charged with killing her son Quinton Simon. The grand jury has charged the slain toddler's mother with malice murder, two counts of felony murder, concealing the death of another, false report of a crime, and 14 counts of giving false statements to police, according to the Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones.
According to the indictment, Leilani allegedly assaulted Quinton with an unknown item and then disposed of his body in the trash at the Azalea Mobile Home Plaza. According to the accusation, the accused mom allegedly claimed she was just tossing out "normal household garbage."
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Leilani reported that her son Quinton was missing on October 5, 2022. For weeks, several departments searched a Chatham County landfill on Little Neck Road for Quinton's remains. DNA analysis showed that the bones discovered in the dump on November 18 belonged to Quinton. Apart from other charges, the accused killer mom faces malice murder and two counts of felony murder.
The same allegation was also brought against the trio in the Ahmaud Arbery case. In the deadly shooting which became part of a greater nationwide crisis on racial injustice, a jury found all three suspects guilty in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on several counts, including malice murder for one defendant. Travis McMichael was found guilty on all charges, including malice murder, by the jury. Greg McMichael was acquitted of malice murder but convicted guilty of all other charges. William "Roddie" Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, one count of felony murder, and one count of false imprisonment, but he was found guilty of the rest of his counts.
Malice murder vs felony murder
Malice murder or felony murder are two possible charges in Georgia for those who commit murder. As per Georgia state law, felony murder defines as "in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice." For instance, felony murder occurs when a person willfully commits another crime without intending to harm someone, and that action results in the death of that person. To be found guilty of felony murder, the individual must also be found guilty of the main felony.
"Felony murder is a legal statute that expands the definition of murder. It occurs when someone commits a serious or inherently dangerous felony, and someone else dies during the course of committing or attempting to commit the felony," Lawson & Berry, a law firm in Atlanta, said. "There does not need to be intent to kill or even an expectation that someone will die once the felony is commenced. The defendant will be liable for the death either way," the firm added, as reported by Fox 5.
Malice murder is defined as when a person "unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being," as per the law. When someone kills another person with the aim to commit a crime, this is referred to as malice murder. When referring to murder, the word "malice" is understood to signify a blatantly intentional desire to kill without any justification under the law. Malice murder is the most serious murder charge in the state of Georgia, and like felony murder, it carries a sentence that can be either the death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole.