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Murder versus manslaughterMost states, including Illinois, differentiate the various types of homicide based on the context of the killing. “Homicide” is the blanket category that includes murder and manslaughter. It can be confusing to decipher the differences when these terms seem to be thrown around interchangeably in the media and in daily usage. In legal application, however, there are important distinctions between each of the terms. These seemingly small, nuanced dissimilarities have significant implications on the sentence a person will receive who is ultimately convicted.

First Degree Murder

Essentially, murder occurs when one intentionally kills another human being. In Illinois, murder is further divided into two categories: first degree murder and second degree murder. In order to commit first degree murder under Illinois law, one of three states of mind must be present for a successful conviction:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

With two months left to go in the year, Chicago homicides have already reached the 2011 total. Sunday night, around 11 p.m., Fitz Bariffe, 68, became the city’s 435th homicide victim of 2012.

Within one weekend, there were at least six people killed and an additional 14 wounded in gun violence.

It was reported that Bariffe had constructed a fence around his property to separate himself from drug deals, which is now being looked into as a possible reason for his death. The other shootings during the weekend all victimized men ranging in age from 20-35.

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An Illinois man is now charged with allegedly killing a woman and her unborn child at a Door County resort.

Brian Cooper, 35, faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one for third-degree sexual assault.

Last month, Cooper allegedly strangled 22-year-old Alisha Bromfield at a resort in the town of Nasewaupee, WI where the two were staying in the area for a wedding. According to the criminal complaint filed last Tuesday, Bromfield had wanted to break it off with Cooper and he "didn&t want to go home single."

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A sex crime charge has been added to the case against a Centerville, Ill., man accused killing Southern Illinois couple a few weeks ago.

Formal charges against Danny K. Coston, 36, now include a felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault while armed with a firearm.

The body of Jessi Evans, 17 of Norris City, Ill., was found on the evening of Aug. 27. The body of her boyfriend, Jacob Wheeler, 22 of Centerville, was found the next Friday night.

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The Chicago Tribune recently reported a tragic story of a family that was killed by the father. During the ongoing murder trial, relatives and friends say the mother of the family, Kimberly Vaughn, and her children seemed happy just days before the incident.

Back in 2007 when Vaughn and her children were shot to death, she was proud to be graduating from college and looking forward to spending the summer with her family. Her husband, Christopher Vaugh, seemed like he always was – introverted and quiet, but for the people who knew him, that wasn&t unusual behavior. Kimberly's father was the only one to say that he saw Christopher act differently, he noticed that Christopher did not say hello, but just walked past him. Kimberly had defended her husband, explaining his actions on  stress at work.

The husband and father of three, Christopher Vaughn, has been charged with fatally shooting his wife, their 12- and 11-year old daughters, and their 8-year-old son. Vaughn had told his family that he was driving them to a water park, but he allegedly shot his family in their SUV instead. Prosecutors said Vaughn was trying to leave his boring suburban life behind and move to the Canadian wilderness.

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NBC15, among others, reported a story by The Associated Press about an Illinois man killing his girlfriend. The homicide of 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield was first reported about on August 19, and the story was updated on August 20 with information about an Illinois man calling the Door County Sheriff's Department, saying he killed the victim, Alisha Bromfield.

The victim's body was discovered near Sturgeon Bay at a resort complex in Door County, Wisconsin on  August 19. Preliminary investigations revealed that she was a victim of a homicide. About noon that day, the 35-year-old male suspect called the sheriff's department from Sister Bay and said he killed his girlfriend. The resort where the victim was found is about 30 miles from Sister Bay.

The Plainfield, Illinois man was arrested and taken to jail, and authorities say the man will appear in court on the 22nd. The identity of the suspect remains unknown to the public.

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