When he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being. O.C.G.A. 16-5-1(a).
Malice means the intent to take a life without legal justification or mitigation. Pace v. State, 274 Ga. 69 (2001). Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Implied malice is where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. O.C.G.A. 16-5-1(b). Implied malice means conduct exhibiting a reckless disregard for human life. Clark v. State, 283 Ga. 234 (2008).
Premeditation is not an element. Brewer v. State, 280 Ga. 18 (2005). Coercion is not a defense. O.C.G.A. 16-3-26. While it is true that the State need not prove motive in a murder trial, evidence of motive is always relevant to establishing such a charge. Thus, motive is said to "enter into the offense" of murder. Young v. State, 281 Ga. 750 (2007).
While a single homicide can result from facts that support guilty verdicts on counts charging both malice and felony murder, a defendant may be sentenced on either guilty verdict, but not both. Sanders v. State, 283 Ga. 372 (2008).
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