What are the Differences Between an Assassination, a Murder, and a Homicide (Explained)

It’s a popular misconception that assassination, homicide, and murder are similar. There is a significant distinction between these offenses in legal terms. A conviction for each carries a maximum punishment.

All criminal justice professionals demand a deeper examination of the factors that characterize assassination, homicide, and murder. The fundamental distinction between assassination, homicide, and murder, like other criminal statutes, is dependent on the facts.

And knowing the difference between these is crucial if you ever find yourself in court facing allegations of one of these crimes.

This article will help you ease your confusion about these.

Let’s begin!

What is Assassination?

soldier with a gun
Military holding a gun

Assassination is the act or instance of killing someone in a fast or secret attack, usually for political motives (commonly on a political leader).

In a simple explanation, it is the murder of a well-known or influential person.

Given the definition of assassination, here are some examples of how to use it in a sentence.

  • All of the newspapers covered the assassination.
  • The assassination of the President has many consequences.
  • The queen and king survived assassination while returning from the marriage ceremony when a bomb exploded, killing and injuring several civilians and the royal family procession.

Who are the Famous Assassins?

If you wonder if there is a real assassination in the world and not just in movies, these individuals performed killings that horrified the entire globe.

  • Assassin: Gavrilo Princip

Gavrilo Princip was born in Bosnia and was recruited into terrorism by the covert Serbian organization Black Hand. Princip, a South Slav nationalist, wanted to overthrow Austro-Hungarian domination in order to bring the South Slav peoples together.

As a result, he attempted the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

An acquaintance initially shot a bomb at the vehicle containing Franz Ferdinand, which bounced off and crashed beneath a near automobile, letting the procession go to Town Hall.

On June 28, 1914, Princip had the chance to kill Ferdinand and his beloved Wife while driving to the hospitals to check on the bomb victims.

The assassination caused the First World Struggle and the war involving Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

  • Assassin: James Earl Ray

James Earl Ray had a significant criminal past, having served time in prison for a variety of offenses in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ray also held racist views and was opposed to the major emphasis in place at the time. Ray booked a room at the same motel where social rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. was resting in 1968. 

Ray killed King in the face as he stood on a balcony, and the single gunshot was enough to assassinate him.

Ray tried to leave for Canada, then England, but was arrested and punished to 99 years in jail. Ray ruined the life of a famous political figure on April 4, 1968, and it’ll be remembered in history.

What is Homicide?

What is homicide?

Homicide is when one individual kills another. This is a broad phrase that refers to both legitimate and criminal executions.

An army, for example, might kill another army in the war, but this is not a crime. There are many other circumstances in which killing other people is not considered a crime.

According to a study, when one person kills another, this is known as a homicide. Not all homicides are murders; some are manslaughter, while others are legal, including when supported by an accused individual such as madness or self-defense.

What are the Types of Criminal Homicide?

Criminal homicide is classified into different types, here’s a list to help you know the differences between all of these.

First-degree murderA planned killing that is chargeable by death or life in prison without the possibility of release. For minors, jail for life is no longer required.
Second-degree murderAdults are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release if they kill someone while breaking a law. In particular, the penalty is equally applicable to accomplices who did not kill someone.
Third-degree murderMurder in any other form. Punishments are up to 40 years in jail and are voluntary
Voluntary manslaughterA killing is performed without reason in a fit of anger as a result of urging by the person who was killed or the original target. Unnecessary self-defense murders are also listed. The jail term is 20 years in prison.
Involuntary manslaughterA homicide is caused by careless or extremely irresponsible conduct. The maximum penalty is five years in prison.
Types of criminal homicide

What is a Homicide in Florida?

From state to state, this broad concept of homicide is applied differently. Many scenarios that lead to death in the state of Florida can be classified as homicide or murder

Homicide in Florida is defined as an act that results in the death of a human being. Homicide is classified as either criminal or noncriminal. Murder is a much more serious homicide offense that carries harsher punishments.

Here’s a list of examples of scenarios that can be classified as homicide in Florida.

  • Murder
  • Helping someone commit suicide
  • Self-murder for profit
  • An unborn child is killed when its mother is injured.
  • avoidable murder to stop a crime

What is Murder?

Murder is defined as the unlawful execution of other people. It is defined as one man who kills another with criminal intent under California Penal Code Section 187.

Malignancy is defined as knowing and wanting to do something bad. When someone commits a murder with the purpose to do so, it’s called evil deliberate intent.

Murder is a crime punishable by death in the United States, and it is a term for “criminal homicide.”

In 32 states, as well as the u.s. federal and armed services legal systems, punishment is legitimate sentencing.

Since the final penalty was reintroduced in 1976, 34 states have carried out executions, making the United States unique in this regard.

The execution methods have varied, although the deadly injection has been the most popular since 1976.

A total of 35 individuals were executed in 2014, with 3,002 death row inmates.

Why do they Commit Murder?

The reason for the murder is frequently that the killer stands to gain in some way, like murdering a competitor to assure their own victory or murdering a close relative or donor to inherit money.

In truth, the most typical motives for murder are affection, money, or payback.

If you’re interested to know the difference between Nudism and Naturism, check out my other article.

Comparison between Assassination, Homicide, and Murder

DescriptionKilling someone that will cause a general impact on the publicWhen a person kills anotherThe act of taking another person’s life
Oxford DictionaryThe killing of a prominent or well-known person, usually for political reasonsThe act of killing someone else, especially when it is a criminal offenseThe intentional and criminal killing of one person by another.
VictimFamous person/ influential personAny personAny person
ReasonBased on politics, military, or religionAny personal reasonAny personal reason
Comparison of the crimes

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the three crimes differ in the victims and reasons for their killings.

The distinctions between homicide and murder are highlighted by the legal descriptions of each category. A murder case must be supported in most states by following the state’s statutory standards.

A charge of murder must be confirmed in most states by following the state’s legal standards. In most cases, this involves intent or the desire to kill or seriously hurt that person.

Assassination is similar to murder in that it leads to the death of another person. The intention, however, is different from murder. 

Whereas murder is carried out for personal reasons like anger or money, assassinations are carried out for political or religious purposes. It can also be done for monetary gains, such as when someone pays another to kill someone, or for the sake of glory or celebrity.

An assassination is defined as a murder in which the attacker receives no direct profit from the killing. Therefore, in order for an assassination to be classified as such, the target must be a well-known or influential person.

The effect of such a target’s death would be far greater than that of a typical person’s murder.

As a result, assassination is frequently used as a political tool, with competing for political leaders or other key persons being targeted for death.


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