HOUSE BILL NO. 429
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AND SENATE AMENDMENTS NO. 6 AND 7
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 5 AND CHAPTER 42, TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE AND PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Amend §636, Subchapter 11, Chapter 5, Title 11 of the Delaware Code, by striking said section in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
§636. Murder in the First Degree
A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when:
(1) he intentionally causes the death of another person;
(2) in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempted commission of a felony or immediate flight therefrom, he recklessly causes the death of another person;
(3) he intentionally causes another person to commit suicide by force or duress;
(4) he recklessly causes the death of a law enforcement officer, Corrections employee or fireman while such officer is in the lawful performance of his duties;
(5) he causes the death of another person by the use of or detonation of any bomb or similar destructive device;
(6) he, with criminal negligence, causes the death of another person in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempted commission of rape, kidnapping, arson in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, or immediate flight therefrom;
(7) he causes the death of another person in order to avoid or prevent the lawful arrest of any person, or in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempted commission of escape in the second degree or escape after conviction.
Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony and shall be punished as provided in §4209 of this Title.
Section 2. Amend §4209, Chapter 42, Title 11 of the Delaware Code, by striking said section in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
§4209. Method and punishment for First Degree Murder
(1) In any case in which a person is convicted of first degree murder the Court shall impose a sentence of death. If the penalty of death is determined to be unconstitutional the penalty for first degree murder shall be life imprisonment without benefit of parole.
(2) The imposition of a sentence of death shall be upon such terms and conditions as the Court may impose in its sentence, including the place, the number of witness and conditions of privacy. Punishment of death shall, in all cases, be inflicted by hanging by the neck, and the carrying out of such sentence may not be less than ten (10) days after the imposition of the sentence. The Court or the Governor may suspend the execution of the sentence until a later date to be specified, solely to permit completion of the process of judicial review of said conviction.
Section 3. All offenses committed and all prosecutions commenced under the provisions of this Act prior to the effective date of this Act shall remain punishable and shall be prosecuted as previously provided and this Act shall not affect any rights or liabilities accrued, penalties incurred, or proceedings begun prior to the effective date of this Act.
Section 4. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, including any one or more of the enumerated instances which constitute first degree murder is held unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application of this Act, and to that end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.
Section 5. This Act shall become effective upon the signature of the Governor.
Approved March 29, 1974.