In South Carolina, if homicide takes place during the commission of a felony, malice is supplied from the intent to commit the underlying felony. In the South Carolina case, Gore v. Leeke 261 SC 308, the felony murder rule became a substantive rule of law, and no longer a presumption. The rule of inferred malice only applies to felonies that are either and inherent or foreseeable danger to human life.
The inherent danger pf such felonies is determined from the nature of the felony and the surrounding circumstances. In Gore, the daytime break-in of a home by men with weapons invoked the felony murder rule (FMR). However, not all felonies will support the FMR. For example, bribery is a felony; however, it is not a felony that is inherently dangerous, so it will not be applicable to the FMR. There must be a threat to human life by the very nature of the felony itself.
Next, the homicide must take place while the felony is in the process of being committed to fall under the purview of the FMR. But, the felony continues to be committed while the defendants are escaping from the scene. Many felony murder cases can be sustained on some other theory of malice. Basically, the application of the FMR is appropriate in cases of an unintentional homicide committed during an inherently dangerous felony.
If you are being charged with first degree murder under the felony murder rule (due to the fact that the murder occurred during the commission of a inherently dangerous felony) contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP. The FMR elevates a charge such as burglary or robbery to a first degree murder if someone dies during the commission of such a felony. Further, even if you are not the shooter, you may still be charged under the doctrine. Contact our Baxter village office located in Fort Mill, South Carolina if you have been charged under the felony murder doctrine. You can contact us at 803-548-4444, or 877-374-5999.