A premeditated murder is an act of killing a person that has been planned ahead. This is considered to be the most serious of all forms of murder because of the intention to kill an individual. It is often referred to as a first degree murder with the convicted person usually given stiff penalties such as death penalty or life imprisonment with no parole.
By premeditation, it means the person who intended to commit the act of murder carefully planned everything ahead of time including the way he or she can escape arrest. Using a gun that is unregistered or using gloves to handle a gun are signs of a premeditated murder.
In a first degree murder, lawyers need to determine that there was premeditation as well as malice, an intention to kill and deliberation. Malice can be proven through statements indicating the murderer hated the victim or had a conflict with him or her or in some instances, when a deadly weapon is used. Other acts considered to be automatic indicators of a premeditated murder are the use of poison, lying in wait and torturing a person. When poison is used in whatever way, it is clear that the murderer knew that it could kill the victim.
The way states determine the type of murder can differ. As a premeditated murder is considered a first degree murder, an act of killing a person with malice is a second degree murder because of the absence of a plan to kill before the actually killing occurred.
Apart from premeditated murder, another type of murder that carries stiff penalties is felony murder.