Colleen Rimer was sentenced to five (5) to twenty (20) years in prison in connection with the death of her son Jason. Colleen and Stanley Rimer left their disabled 4-year-old in an SUV for 17 hours after the family returned from church one afternoon in the Summer of 2008. Jason suffered from myotonic dystrophy, which rendered him unable to free himself from the car. Jason was found dead in the car the next morning. The jury convicted the couple of Involuntary Manslaughter. They were also convicted of Child Abuse and Neglect for physically abusing their other children. Prosecutors had sought convictions on the more serious charge of Second-Degree Murder, which could have carried a life sentence for the couple.
Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. NRS 200.010. First-Degree Murder is murder that is committed: (1) with premeditation and deliberation; (2) in the course of certain felonies; (3) to avoid arrest or effect escape; (4) at a school or on a school bus by a person who intended to create a great risk of harm or substantial bodily harm to more than one person; or (5) a murder committed in the course of a terroristic act. Second-Degree Murder is all other forms of murder. NRS 200.030.
First-Degree Murder is punishable by a definite term of twenty (20) to fifty (50) years in prison, life with the possibility of parole after twenty (20) years, life without the possibility of parole or (in some circumstances) death. Second-Degree Murder is punishable by ten (10) to twenty-five (25) years in prison or life in prison with the possibility of parole after ten (10) years. NRS 200.030.
Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice or deliberation. NRS 200.040. There are two types of Manslaughter: Voluntary Manslaughter and Involuntary Manslaughter. Voluntary Manslaughter is a killing committed "upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a provocation apparently sufficient to make the passion irresistible." NRS 200.040. The typical example used to explain Voluntary Manslaughter is a person killing their spouse's lover immediately after finding them in bed together. Involuntary Manslaughter is the killing of a person "in the commission of an unlawful act, or a lawful act without due caution or circumspection."
The difference between Murder and Manslaughter is the presence of "Malice" at the time of the killing. In ordinary conversation, Malice usually means spite or anger. But, in the law, malice is a term of art and malice can be "express" or "implied." Malice is defined in NRS 200.020 as: "Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature, which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof . . . Malice shall be implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart."
If you or someone you know charged with any form homicide, such as Murder or Manslaughter, it is imperative that you contact aLas Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. The Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer can assist you in analyzing the facts of your case, identifying applicable defenses and developing the most aggressive defense strategy possible to protect your legal rights.