Assault with the intent to commit murder is a serious offense and consists of: (1) an assault, (2) specific intent to kill, and (3) malice. A conviction of armed assault with intent to murder requires proof of the defendant’s specific intent to kill without justification, excuse, or mitigation.
Malice, in the context of assault with intent to murder can be shown in three ways: (1) a specific intent to kill, (2) a specific intent to do grievous bodily harm, or (3) an intent to do an act, in circumstances known to the defendant, that a reasonable person would know creates a plain and strong likelihood of death. In order words, malice means intent to kill in the absence of justification, excuse, or mitigation.
Be advised of the following:
(1) If no evidence of mitigation is offered, the proof of a specific intent to kill satisfies the requirement of malice. However, if evidence of mitigation is offered then prosecutor has the burden to prove mitigating circumstances were absent.
(2) The defendant’s possession of a dangerous weapon is not necessary to prove assault with intent to murder.
(3) Since the Commonwealth is required to prove the defendant’s specific intent then evidence of the defendant’s intoxication or mental impairment at the time of the crime is admissible.
A person convicted of an assault with the intent to murder is subjected to: incarceration in the state prison for a maximum sentence of 10 years OR imprisonment in jail for up to 21/2 years AND a maximum fine of $1,000.