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Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder

Manslaughter vs Murder

The difference between manslaughter and murder lies in the intention of the killer. In manslaughter, the killer has no intention to kill the other person but it so happened, In the other hand, in murder a killer has that intention of killing another person to death.

Manslaughter and murder are two words that are used interchangeably by a layman; however, forensics defines the two as being distinct. Though the concept of killing behind the two remains a convergent point, it is the intent of the killing that distinguishes the two. It is of no wonder therefore, that the complexity of distinguishing between the two based on degrees of the killing has been confused for time immemorial. Famous forensics dramas present on television, help science enthusiast separate the one from the other.


Manslaughter is categorized into two forms, the voluntary manslaughter and the involuntary manslaughter. Under voluntary manslaughter, the killer has no prior planning of killing another person, but has to kill them to protect one’s own life as there is no other way out. It is also present as a killing “in the heat of the moment” for example if a victim has to release themselves from a rapist. Involuntary manslaughter on the other hand results as an involuntary action that again had no prior planning but “just” happened. This may be as a result of a fight that erupted and a person involuntarily killed another person in order to protect himself. The intention of killing like in voluntary manslaughter is not present in involuntary manslaughter, but simply happens perhaps due to a heavy hit to the victim’s body.

In manslaughter, the killer comes with no plans as to kill someone or hide their body after the other person has been killed.


The situation where a killing is termed to be a murder is when a killer comes with an intention of killing another person to death. This can be done in the most brutal manner as possible known as fist degree murder. In this case, the killer comes with a complete plan as to how to kill the person, what plan to adopt incase the first plan fails, where to hide the body, how to protect the fingerprints or hair or any form of DNA dropping at the crime scene and how to make a get away.

Difference between Manslaughter and Murder

The difference between manslaughter and murder lies in the intention of the killer. In manslaughter, the killer has no intention to kill the other person but either “has to” or “it just happens”. In murder, the killer comes with complete preparation from plotting the plan to executing it with an intention to kill the other person in cold blood.

The sentence for anyone committed for either crime also differs. Because the intention under manslaughter is not present, the penalty sentence for manslaughter is less than that for someone committed for murder.

In Short:

Though both acts of killing are unforgivable without doubt, manslaughter is still a degree below murder. Under both cases, the attackers have to be committed based on evidence that is proven beyond the reasonable doubt and such actions cannot be forgiven and as argued by most, must be penalized in kind.


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