Felony Murder Doctrine Definition

A rule that allows a killing, even an accidental death, that occurs in the course of a dangerous felony to be charged against the felon as first-degree murder. A felon can be guilty of murder during the course of the dangerous felony even if the felon is not the killer, as might happen when a robber kills a clerk—both the driver of the getaway car and the robber may be charged with first-degree murder. The rule extends to unusual circumstances, such as the killing of one of two bank robbers by a bank security officer (the surviving robber may be charged with murder).