Three Crime Scenarios – The Same Outcome? Now with an Exciting New Update!!!

Scenario 1. An arsonist burns down a corner grocery store. The elderly proprietor has a heart attack as he exits the building.

Scenario 2. A thug beats or threatens the owner of the grocery store into signing over ownership of the business. The elderly proprietor has a heart attack as he exits the building.

Scenario 3. A scam artist defrauds the owner of the grocery story out of his store. The elderly proprietor has a heart attack as he exits the building.

I’m no attorney, but I think on scenarios 1 and 2, the criminal can be charged with murder, but not in scenario 3. Am I right about this? And if so, why is blue collar crime treated so much more harshly?

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Let’s try three new scenarios…

Scenario 1A. A thief breaks into home and steals, among other things, heart medication which he replaces with an ineffective placebo. The Elderly home owner wakes up afterwards, realizes he’s been burgled, gets overly excited, reaches for his heart medication. The replacement medicine has no effect. He dies an hour later from the excitement..

Scenario 2A. A thief breaks into home and steals, among other things, heart medication. The Elderly home owner wakes up afterwards, realizes he’s been burgled, gets overly excited, reaches for his heart medication. He spends the next hour unsuccessfully trying to find the medication, and finally keels over and dies from the excitement.

Scenario 3A. A thief breaks into home and steals credit cards that the elderly home owner was going to use purchase heart medication the next day. The Elderly home owner wakes up afterwards, realizes he’s been burgled, gets overly excited and realizes he needs the medication now. He spends the next hour unsuccessfully trying find his credit cards so he could wander over to the pharmacy down the block, and finally keels over and dies from the excitement.

I imagine that in scenarios 1A and 2A, the thief can be charged with murder. I imagine that in Scenario 3A the thief cannot. From what I can tell, the only difference (between 2A and 3A, at least) is what was stolen.

Why the difference? I have a guess… Scenario 3A is closer to stealing intangibles, whereas 1A and 2A are closer to stealing tangible items. The former is generally a white collar crime; the latter is generally a blue collar crime.

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