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The importance of intent in murder charges

An attempted crime is a crime in which an individual has both the intent to commit a crime and takes certain actions toward the completion of the crime. Because attempt crimes are by their very nature incomplete, it is vital that prosecutors establish intent to prove their case. In the case of attempted murder, the person accused of the violent crime must have both the intent to kill and have taken actions toward that purpose.

Cleveland Browns rookie Ausar Walcott was recently released from the Browns after authorities brought attempted murder charges following an aggravated assault in northern New Jersey. According to authorities, Wolcott punched a man in the head outside The Palace Gentlemen's Club in Passaic. Walcott later turned himself in to law enforcement after being identified as a suspect in the alleged aggravated assault.

The reasons for the altercation between the men and details of the fight have not been made public, but Passaic Police did report that the 24-year-old injured in the altercation is in critical condition. The Browns also released an online statement that the linebacker, who was only signed to the Browns in May, will be released from the team. It was also confirmed that Walcott is being held custody on $500,000 bail.

Because attempt crimes like attempted murder are by definition incomplete, proving intent is key to the prosecution's case. With attempted murder, for example, the prosecution must establish that the person accused of the crime actually intended to murder the victim. If the prosecution can only establish that the defendant intended to harm or possibly seriously injure the victim, they have failed to meet their burden. A criminal defense professional can help defendants facing charges like these to fight the allegations that their intentions were something other than they actually were.

Source:, "Cleveland Browns rookie, former Hackensack star charged with attempted murder," Myles Ma, June 26, 2013

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