Defense Against Murder Charges in Cedar City and St. George, Utah

Defense Against Murder Charges in Cedar City and St. George, Utah

Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. It can be charged as murder or manslaughter. These are the most serious criminal charges a person can face. If you are under investigation or have been charged with criminal homicide, finding an experienced murder lawyer should be your top priority.

The lawyers at Douglas D. Terry & Associates have extensive experience defending people accused of the most serious crimes. Douglas Terry has been practicing criminal defense law since 1983 and leads the longest-serving criminal defense law firm in St. George. Our lawyers know Utah law and have practiced in every courthouse in southern Utah. We know area judges and the prosecutors you are likely to face, and we understand the criminal procedures that apply in courts throughout the state.

With offices in St. George and Cedar City, Utah, our murder lawyers proudly defend people throughout southern Utah.

Types of Homicide Charges

In Utah, you can be charged with homicide if you are suspected of causing the death of another person. The State of Utah defines the crimes of murder and manslaughter based on the defendant’s intent. Intent can range from acting on purpose to kill another person to causing harm to another person by mistake.


The crime of murder occurs when a person:

  • Intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another human being;
  • Intends to cause serious bodily injury to another person and acts in a way that is clearly dangerous to human life and causes the death of another person;
  • Acts in a way that shows a depraved indifference to human life and engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and causes the death of another person;
  • Causes the death of another person while committing or attempting to commit a “predicate offense.” Utah Code § 76-5-203(1) provides a list of crimes that are considered predicate offenses that include:
    • Child abuse;
    • Kidnapping;
    • Rape;
    • Burglary; and
    • Robbery.


The crime of manslaughter also involves the taking of another human life. The difference between murder and manslaughter is the defendant’s actions prior to and during the taking of another person’s life.

Manslaughter occurs when a person:

  • Recklessly causes the death of another;
  • Commits a homicide which would be murder, but the offense is reduced pursuant to Subsection 76-5-203(4); or
  • Commits murder, but special mitigation is established under Section 76-5-205.5.

Penalties for a Murder Conviction in Utah

The penalties for a murder or manslaughter conviction in Utah can include:

  • Life in prison with or without the possibility of parole;
  • Death penalty; and
  • Significant fines.

The severity of the punishment will depend on factors such as:

  • Prior similar convictions;
  • Convictions for other crimes;
  • Whether the defendant is currently on probation or parole;
  • The attitude of the court and community toward this type of crime;
  • The degree of media attention on the case; and
  • Mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Defenses to Homicide Charges in Utah

Defenses to Utah homicide charges may include:

  • Self-defense;
  • Defense of others;
  • Factual innocence;
  • Insufficient evidence; and
  • Insanity / Battered woman.

Contact Douglas D. Terry & Associates for Aggressive Criminal Defense

If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter in Utah, you need an experienced and aggressive murder lawyer. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team. We will carefully analyze your situation, help you evaluate your options, and fight the charges by presenting the strongest legal defense possible.