Several reports have come out in the past few months detailing the rise in Cincinnati homicides in 2020. One of the most recent news stories reports a 65% increase in homicides. The increase was based on the homicide numbers for the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019.

As of the end of June, there had been 50 killings in Cincinnati. The shooting on June 30 was a double homicide, the fourth in 2020. On July 1, another shooting brought the homicide total to 51 for the year.  

In an earlier report at the end of April, homicides had increased by 115% for the first four months of 2020 compared to the same four months in 2019.  Shootings had increased by 52 percent from the same time last year.

Other crime statistics that were released at the end of April included:

  • Aggravated assaults increased by almost 21 percent;
  • Rapes had decreased by 30 percent;
  • Auto thefts rose by 31 percent;
  • Robberies had increased by 31 percent; and,
  • Personal thefts had decreased by two percent.

There are several theories behind the rise in homicides this year. Police Chief Eliot Isaac theorized that fewer people on the street might make criminals feel that they are less likely to be caught.

Councilwoman Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney suggested that the coronavirus may have limited the impact of programs to prevent violence and shootings. It is also theorized that domestic violence may have been a factor in the rise of violent crime.

Murder in Ohio

The individuals arrested in Cincinnati for homicides may be charged with one or more homicide charges under Ohio’s Criminal Code. The specific charge used when arresting a person depends on the circumstances of the case.

Some of the charges a person might face in a homicide case include:

Murder

The Ohio Revised Code states that it is illegal to take another person’s life, including killing someone during the commission of a violent offense classified as a first or second degree felony. It is also murder to kill an unborn child.

The state does not need to prove that a person acted with the intent to commit murder to obtain a conviction. In most cases, murder is charged as a first degree felony.

Aggravated Murder

Aggravated murder is the killing of a person or an unborn child with the intent of taking a life. Furthermore, a person may be charged with aggravated murder if the death occurs while the person is committing a crime such as:

  • robbery
  • kidnapping
  • burglary
  • arson
  • criminal trespass
  • aggravated arson
  • aggravated burglary
  • terrorism
  • rape
  • aggravated robbery

Aggravated murder also covers cases in which the victim is a child under the age of 13, an on-duty police officer, member of the military, or an on-duty paramedic or firefighter. A charge for aggravated murder is usually a first degree felony.

Involuntary Manslaughter

It is unlawful to keep a person or an unborn child while committing a misdemeanor or felony. Involuntary manslaughter is generally a third degree felony.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is the act of taking another person’s life or the life of an unborn child while in a fit of rage or sudden passion. Deaths related to domestic violence are often charged under this code section. Most voluntary manslaughter charges are felonies in the first degree.

Negligent Homicide

Negligently killing another person or unborn child is charged as a negligent homicide. A negligent homicide is defined as killing someone with a dangerous ordinance or deadly weapon. The charge is generally a first degree misdemeanor.

Punishments for Homicide in Cincinnati

The criminal penalties for a homicide conviction can be very severe. The State punishes homicides with prison sentences and fines. Aggravated murder convictions could result in life in prison, the death sentence, and a fine up to $20,000.

On the opposite end of the punishment scale, negligent homicide is punished by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. As you can see, the criminal charge in your case can make a huge difference in the severity of your punishment.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to contact a homicide defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are arrested for homicide in Cincinnati, do not answer questions without an attorney. Exercise your right to remain silent except for asking for an attorney.

The urge to try to tell your side of the story to make the officers understand you did not commit the crime can be intense. However, talking to the police can hurt your case. Instead, wait and talk to your attorney about what happened.