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Author Topic: Murder in the First or Second?  (Read 7969 times)
stuntmovie
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« on: May 31, 2008, 10:03:47 AM »

According to an on-line legal dictionary - MURDER, SECOND DEGREE - In order for someone to be found guilty of second degree murder the government must prove that the person killed another person; the person killed the other person with malice aforethought; and the killing was premeditated. Note that the elements are identical with those for 1st degree murder. The practical difference is the sentences are different. Which crime to charge is usually entirely up to the prosecutor's discretion.

Could the prosecutor have proven First Degree Murder in the Titus case? If he could have, why didn't he?

Another such dictionary states the following -

First-degree murder is defined as an unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated, meaning that it was committed after planning or "lying in wait" for the victim.

Most states also adhere to a legal concept known as the "felony murder rule," under which a person commits first-degree murder if any death (even an accidental one) results from the commission of certain violent felonies -- usually arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape, and robbery.
For example, Dan and Connie rob Victor's liquor store, but as they are fleeing, Victor shoots and kills Dan. Under the felony murder rule, Connie can be charged with first-degree murder for Dan's death.

Second-degree murder is ordinarily defined as 1) an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned, nor committed in a reasonable "heat of passion" or 2) a killing caused by dangerous conduct and the offender's obvious lack of concern for human life. Second-degree murder may best be viewed as the middle ground between first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

For example, Dan comes home to find his wife in bed with Victor. At a stoplight the next day, Dan sees Victor riding in the passenger seat of a nearby car. Dan pulls out a gun and fires three shots into the car, missing Victor but killing the driver of the car.

Same question - Why wasn't the Titus case a question of Murder in the First Degree? Did a plea bargain reduce it down to 2nd?

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shockandawe
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2008, 12:33:50 PM »

Yes, I believe a plea bargain did reduce it. If you go back and read grand jury testimony on this site - from Megan Foley - you'll see clearly that both Kelly and Craig were potentially responsible for two things that could have stopped her heart or caused her lungs to fail and culminated in death:

Kelly shot her up with a potentially lethal dose of morphine.
Craig says he choked her out until there was nothing left.
Both beat her up.

They both would have been facing first degree murder charges (as the LVRJ reports on the case) were it not for the last minute plea agreement. I believe Craig gave that to Kelly for not turning on him. For as crooked as the guy can be, he also lives by some odd Titus code that can change on a dime and reward people for loyalty, despite him having had issues with loyalty himself throughout his entire life.

The real question is this:
If felons cannot vist felons in prison, despite being legally married (thought not practicing, even in common-law, for what will be years at the point Kelly is released), can anyone tell me if Kelly will be allowed to visit Craig in prison, despite him being a spouse?

I don't think they will be able to, because she will be seen as a convicted felon first and a wife second.
See, right now, they visit because they have not been convicted of anything and one is not on the outside, visiting the other. They visit via closed circuit television/ video, not physically, one in front of the other.

If anyone has a LEGITIMATE legal background, I'd love an answer to this question.

I tend to think that she will not be able to see him and will be forced to - or will choose to - at some point dissolve this marriage.

I think everyone would believe her rehabilitation a lot more if they were to let one another go and walk away - forever.

Just my take...
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JohnnyVegas
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2008, 08:18:06 PM »

They could not even figure out a cause of death-which makes a 1st degree murder charge sort of hard to stick.
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 06:31:18 AM »

Would the prosecution have to pinpoint the exact cause of death when it is evident that there are so many "causes" in this case that could have caused it?

The above question reads strange-ly but it is a serious question.

In other words, do you have to prove the exact cause of one's death when there are a number of different "methods" used to kill a person in order to be murder in the first degree?
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2008, 07:55:11 AM »

No, I don't believe you do. It isn't as strange a question as you may think. Kelly injected her with what was likely a lethal dose of morphine, and Craig choked her out until, as he described it, there was nothing left and she fell to the floor and was gone, I believe he had indicated to the Foleys.

So, if the choke didn't kill her, the morphine certainly did. They also both admitted to beating her up.

Fact is, if the first degree murder charge would not have stuck, then there would have been no plea on Titus' part. And if Cristalli and Sagesse had felt capable of defending them, they would not have plead out either. 

All knew that was the best deal Titus and Ryan were ever going to get, no matter how long it put him in the can, because it spared Kelly a life in prison.

There was a lot of damning evidence in this case that a lot of folks did not know about that would have come out - primarily in the area of torture and physical evidence in the home.

Anyway, the saddest part of all is that now Melissa's mother will not ever know what happened to her daughter. She needed to agree to the plea for it to be able to happen - and did - but a part of her really always just wanted to know the truth of how her daughter died and why.

The best thing about it is, now people can begin serving the time they owe for the crime, and Maura James and all of Melissa's family can start the process of permanent closure.


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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 09:09:43 AM »

No one knows for sure how this went down, and all the drug O/D and choking is pure speculation. CT has never stated any of this on te record-if he had then it would have been evidence at trial.

As for MJ's mom, she was involved with the plea deal I'm sure, but her approval is not needed. The prosecutors could have done the deal with or without her.

The cause of death must be proven at trial, either thru direct or circumstantial evidence. A case for circumstancial 1st degree murder could certainly be made-but the question is would the jury buy it............??

It is a weird plea deal in my book, with CT and KR getting off fairly easy for the type of crime committed.

CT will not do 55 years, in fact I estimate he could be out as early as 2015, as late as 2025.

I worked in Vegas doing appeals on murder and other cases-and my impression is that the sentences given out are fairly light compared to CA.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 07:17:26 AM »

Johnny,
Respectfully, yes, Maura was consulted and her opinion very much did matter. She had to agree to it. This is what she indicated. She is also having second thoughts about it, because she feels as though she let Melissa down. However, it's a done deal. But Nevada law prohibits a wife from being considered "accessory to murder" and there was no way to go about this but a straight murder charge, or what was levied. I think in this case they were after the bigger fish, who had a record, who could be saddled with a much longer sentence. If you believe Daskas' comments, you'll also know that they felt Craig had much more to do with the actual murder. Whether that's true or not, we don't know.


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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 08:25:06 AM »

Johnny,
Respectfully, yes, Maura was consulted and her opinion very much did matter. She had to agree to it. This is what she indicated. She is also having second thoughts about it, because she feels as though she let Melissa down. However, it's a done deal. But Nevada law prohibits a wife from being considered "accessory to murder" and there was no way to go about this but a straight murder charge, or what was levied. I think in this case they were after the bigger fish, who had a record, who could be saddled with a much longer sentence. If you believe Daskas' comments, you'll also know that they felt Craig had much more to do with the actual murder. Whether that's true or not, we don't know.


Not true. While the family of a crime victim will be consulted out of respect, the family has NO SAY, nor do you need their agreemnt,  in the charging, or disposition  (as in plea bargain) of a case. It is the "People" thru the DA that makes the decision.

As for who had more to do with the murder-July 18 may provide answers, but don't count on it.
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2008, 08:33:39 AM »

Johnny,
If you are an attorney, then can you answer this:

If Kelly is a convicted felon, is she able to visit her husband in jail?  Or is it over?

I say, it's over within a matter of a few months.
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2008, 08:39:09 AM »

By the way, the way I understand it, the district attorney did give her mother a LOT of leeway in accepting it.  I think just how much leeway varies by case - and I think it's a personal courtesy. She was definitely asked if she was "okay" with it, and had the choice to say "no."

Whether that means they could have said "well, I'm sorry, we're going ahead even if you don't" I don't know. But I think in a tragic case such as this, the mother has a LOT of say. I believe that if it had become exhaustive and she said "no way" three or four times, they may have stepped in. But let's face it, other than Kelly's light charges, is there really something to be unhappy about with Craig's plea?  Sure, it's not 1st degree, but he will at least be incarcerated for 15 more years. Should it be more? Maybe. I'm not judge and jury. But 15 years is, in and of itself, a long time - if we fail to allow emotion and personal attachment to take control on considering that length of time.
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2008, 12:58:57 PM »

Johnny,
If you are an attorney, then can you answer this:

If Kelly is a convicted felon, is she able to visit her husband in jail?  Or is it over?

I say, it's over within a matter of a few months.

Sure she can visit, she won't be able to vote, own a gun, run for public office, and a number of other things that comes with a felony conviction, but she can visit her man in the pen all she wants.

Will she break up with him??  I would bet my bottom dollar on it. Who the fuck is going to wait around 15 years for CT?Huh?

By the way, the way I understand it, the district attorney did give her mother a LOT of leeway in accepting it. 

The DA is ALWAYS going to run a plea deal by the family, especially on a serious case, and hopefully get their OK on the deal.

But the fact is CT took a second degree murder deal, and that would have been hard to prove at trial, and first degree would have been VERY hard to prove at trial. A more likely verdict would have been a manslaughter charge-such as CT in a moment of rage flipped out and killed MJ-which is more than likely what happened.

If MJ's Mom said no, I will not agree to the 2nd degree murder charge and I want you (Mr. DA) to go to trial on 1st degee murder-does the DA have to do that-and face the chance of getting LESS than a second degree murder at trial??? Like a manslaughter???

No, they don't, that would be stupid and a waste of time, money and resources for a roll of the dice that does not have good odds. So the family is consulted on an y plea deal, and hopefuly they agree with the deal being offered-but the DA knows best on trial.

Plus there is always the chance of not winning at trial, ala OJ Simpson. Not likely but at trial all sorts of weird things go sideways (for both sides).
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2008, 09:24:13 PM »

Okay Johnny, all I have to say is, did you see the video at Las Vegas NOW?? The link below this has the story, but also has the unfathomable video of Titus declaring his innocence! What a loser! 

He wants to talk to Melissa's mother, but has no idea what a wanker he is for saying what he's saying, and how utterly bad this will be for him at sentencing!  Can you imagine a mother listening to HIM, saying, "Now I understand, and while I miss my daughter terribly...gosh, I get it, and I don't hold you accountable. Oh, by the way, have a good 50 years in the hoosegow, Craig - your friend Maura James."

  http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=8413904

This is the lowest of the low and shows that neither of them have learned a damn thing in those 2.5 years. Why should 50 be any different?
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2008, 11:08:47 AM »

If I was Titus' lawyer, he should have accepted nothing less than manslaughter.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2008, 11:41:42 AM »

Okay Johnny, all I have to say is, did you see the video at Las Vegas NOW?? The link below this has the story, but also has the unfathomable video of Titus declaring his innocence! What a loser! 

He wants to talk to Melissa's mother, but has no idea what a wanker he is for saying what he's saying, and how utterly bad this will be for him at sentencing!  Can you imagine a mother listening to HIM, saying, "Now I understand, and while I miss my daughter terribly...gosh, I get it, and I don't hold you accountable. Oh, by the way, have a good 50 years in the hoosegow, Craig - your friend Maura James."

  http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=8413904

This is the lowest of the low and shows that neither of them have learned a damn thing in those 2.5 years. Why should 50 be any different?

I posted on this in another thread;

Titus said he would not discuss the specifics of the crime he's now admitted to committing, but during the interview he said no crime was committed at all.

If I was the judge I would haul his ass back into court-ask him if he said this-and if he said yes, I would ask him if it were accurate-then I would revoke the plea deal and make him go to trial-amnd not accept another plea deal.

That is what happens in real life when a person starts making claims of innocense-they get their pela revoked and are forced to go to trial (with the one exception of an Alford plea).

CT is a loser who is getting off very easy for this crime.

In CA he would be in for life.
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2008, 09:39:54 PM »

Word from some wise guys on the street is that Craig will spend no more than 8 - 12 years in jail if he keeps his nose clean while in custody.

Kelly will front as the author of the upcoming book and will also collect big time for the movie and TV rights and invest those funds for their mutual retirement benefits.

Crime pays big time - That's the word from the wise guys on the street.
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2008, 07:36:18 PM »

Johnny,
An Alford plea is what KELLY has, not Craig. It is not tied up in HIS plea agreement at all. And, I agree: If I were the judge, I'd revoke his plea deal too, and make him go straight to trial for first degree. His mouth is just out of control.  Sadly, it's all a fading dream for him to be able to talk to the press. This is like a f'ing swan song for the poor bastard.
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2008, 10:25:56 AM »

Johnny,
An Alford plea is what KELLY has, not Craig. It is not tied up in HIS plea agreement at all. And, I agree: If I were the judge, I'd revoke his plea deal too, and make him go straight to trial for first degree. His mouth is just out of control.  Sadly, it's all a fading dream for him to be able to talk to the press. This is like a f'ing swan song for the poor bastard.

CT is an idiot. CT and KR could both give an Alford plea if the judge let them, I dont know the specifics but have heard KR did an Alford plea-won't make any difference for sentencing,  or a civil case against her.

If CT had hald a brain (he doesn't) he would just say he "I'm sorry" and that is it, two words. I'm sorry.

The more that idiot opens his mouth the worse things become.
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2008, 09:27:53 PM »

Absolutely everything Titus did in this case was utterly braindead. Starting from:

- buying the lighter fluid with a credit card
- burning the body in their own car
- after the murder, getting some kind of sycophant involved with the arson (more witnesses)
- telling the arresting officers everything about the burned car
- telling the whole story to their friends (Mandy Polk)
- running away, the most obvious way
- getting caught when Kelly was doing her nails in a beauty saloon

They must have been high when they did everything... I can't believe anyone could be THIS stupid.


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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2008, 01:00:43 PM »

Well....I just watched it & although he said he didn't commit first or second degree murder....he did say he was "responsible" in some ways for her death & why he took the plea.

I think I know where he's going with this.

Hypothetically, like he gave her something he knew was or might going to kill her but did nothing to prevent it.




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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2008, 08:29:33 PM »

do you have the link to what you watched knny187?
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2008, 11:14:54 AM »

maybe I'm just readin in it too much
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« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2008, 11:20:26 AM »

 Roll Eyes


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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2008, 05:43:20 PM »

maybe I'm just readin in it too much

Good guess, he will try to say that she ODed.

I never thought of that, but burning her body in the car makes such a scenario very unlikely and highly suspect IMO.


We shall see soon enough.
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