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Triple Homicide Meaning (All You Need To Know)

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What does triple homicide mean?

What are the essential elements you should know!

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Let’s define a triple homicide and see what it really means!

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What Is A Triple Homicide

A triple homicide refers to a single event or situation where three people are killed or die resulting.

In other words, for you to have a “triple” homicide, you need to have “three” deaths resulting from the same act, same crime, same event, or same set of circumstances.

For example, if there is a driveby shooting where three people are killed in the context of the same event, you can say that it’s a triple homicide.

On the other hand, if three people are killed at a different point in time, even if the killer is the same person, that will not constitute a triple crime but rather three single homicide events.

To better understand the definition of triple homicide, let’s define the meaning of homicide.

What Is Homicide

Homicide is defined as the act of one human being killing another human being.

When someone is killed by the action, conduct, neglect, or recklessness of another, you have a homicide.

A homicide may also occur as a result of an accident where a person is killed although the perpetrator did not formulate the intent of killing.

The term “homicide” is broad in scope and includes the illegal killing of another human being but also the lawful killing of another human being.

For example, murder and manslaughter are included in the definition of homicide representing the unlawful killing of another human being.

On the other hand, if a law enforcement officer kills a criminal to protect the public, you have another event of homicide but in this case the act can be considered legal as the law enforcement was acting in its duty to protect the public. 

As a result, you can have “homicide” for intentional and unintentional acts that lead to the killing or death of another human being.

Triple Homicide Definition

What is the legal definition of triple homicide?

Here is my definition of triple homicide:

Triple homicide generally refers to the intentional or unintentional death or killing of three individuals by another human being or in the context of the same event or the commission of a single act.

In other words, the meaning of triple homicide can be summed up as follows:

  • Refers to the death of three persons
  • In the context of the same event or commission of the same act
  • No matter if the criminal had or not the intention to kill 

Types of Homicide

In the United States, every state will categorize the killing of another human differently.

Generally speaking, homicide can be categorized as follows:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Justifiable homicide 

First degree murder is the most serious type of crime where the killer had a clear intention to kill another person, there was premeditation.

Second degree murder is an intentional killing of another person that happens in the heat of the action where the person develops the intention to kill in the spur of the moment.

You can check out my article on the difference between first and second degree murders if you’re interested.

Voluntary manslaughter is when a person kills another person in the heat of the passion and where the person was emotionally or mentally disturbed to a point that they could no longer control their emotions.

Involuntary manslaughter is when a human being is killed without the intent of doing so or accidentally.

Finally, justifiable homicide is when another person is killed for a reason excused by law like self-defense or when law enforcement kills another.

Triple Homicide vs Triple Murder

What is the difference between triple homicide and triple murder?

Although the terms homicide and murder are used in many cases interchangeably, they actually have a different meaning.

Murder refers to a crime where another human being is killed by another following a deliberate and intentional act.

Murder is the most serious type of crime in society as the defendant has no regard for the value of another person’s life.

On the other hand, homicide generally refers to the death of another person either through an intentional act (crime) or an unintentional act (accident or justifiable homicide).

For example, if a person kills another person while in self-defense or the police kills a criminal to protect the public, you have an event called homicide but the law may not punish the killer for the act that may be excusable or done in the public interest.

Now, triple homicide refers to when a person kills three other people without having an intention to kill them or that the killing was considered lawful (resulting in no punishment to the killer).

On the other hand, a triple murder is when a person deliberately kills three other people in the context of the same event. 

In the case of a triple murder, the prosecutor can prove that not only the same offender killed the other three individuals (the act or actus reus) but also had the intention of killing them (the criminal intent 

In essence, a triple murder is three counts of murder.

Triple Homicide Examples

What are some examples of triple homicide?

Let’s look at two examples of homicide where in the first case the killer had the intention of killing and in the second case there was no criminal intent.

Imagine that a person wants to rob a jewelry store and knows that there are usually three security guards securing the place.

As part of his plan to rob the place, he decides to kill the three security guards.

When he carries out his act and deliberately kills the three security guards, we have an event called triple homicide.

However, since the killer deliberately killed the security guards, we can also refer to the event as a triple murder.

In a second example, imagine there are three violent individuals committing a crime and shooting in the public. 

Considering how dangerous they were, when the law enforcement arrives on the scene, they end up shooting and killing the three perpetrators.

In this case, you have a triple homicide.

However, since law enforcement killed the criminals to protect the public, the killings are legally excusable or justifiable (technically called justifiable homicide).

Triple Homicide Meaning Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What does a triple homicide mean?

A triple homicide is when we generally refer to an event or single act when three human beings are killed by another.

The term homicide is often used interchangeably with the term murder but they are not the same thing.

Homicide can be an “intentional” or “unintentional” act whereas murder refers to the deliberate and premeditated killing of another human being.

You may hear in the news or media that there was a “triple homicide case” or “triple homicide investigation”.

To say that the law enforcement is investigating a triple homicide matter or triple homicide case means that there was an event where three human beings were killed and they are investigating it to understand the cause of death.

I hope I was able to clarify the meaning of a triple homicide for you so you know what it means and how it’s different from murder.

Now, let’s look at a summary of our findings.

What Is Triple Homicide

  • A “triple homicide” refers to a single act or single event where three human beings are killed by another person or group of people 
  • The notion of homicide includes different types of crimes such as intentional crimes (murder for example) and non-intentional deaths (justifiable homicide)
  • When three people are killed at different times or in the context of the commission of different acts, the killings will not be considered triple homicide 
  • The main difference between a triple homicide and a triple murder is the level of intention formulated in killing three others (or criminal intent)
Attempted homicide
Crime scene analysis 
Criminal investigators 
Defense of infancy 
Depraved-heard murder
Double homicide 
Homicide definition 
Homicide sentences 
Homicide vs murder
Homicide vs suicide 
Justifiable homicide 
Mental incapacity 
Negligence per se
Police investigation 
Reckless endangerment 
Reckless homicide 
Sealed indictments 
Triple homicide
True billed 
Types of homicide
Capital punishment 
Child murder
Consensual homicide 
Contract killing 
Crime of passion 
Criminal investigators 
Criminal negligence 
Culpable homicide
Depraved indifference
Double murder 
Involuntary manslaughter 
Justifiable homicide 
Lust murder
Mass murder
Misdemeanor murder
Negligent homicide 
Prole hold 
Police investigation 
Proxy murder
Serial killer 
Vehicular homicide 
Voluntary manslaughter

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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