It is illegal to take the life of another, despite the prevailing circumstances it is called homicide. Homicides are all killings of humans which violate criminal laws including murder and manslaughter. The most serious criminal homicide is the first degree murder. This means that the killing was intentional and planned, the killer had enough time to form a conscious intent to kill. If someone planned on killing one victim, but accidentally killed someone else, the murder is still regarded as intentional. A first degree murder can also include “malice aforethought“, that means causing great bodily harm before killing a person.
Manslaughter means taking the life of a human without having a malicious intent or planning it. It is also called a reckless killing or a killing done in the heat of the moment. A manslaughter can be involuntary when the death occurs during a commission of a non-felony (i.e. reckless driving). Voluntary manslaughter includes killing in the heat of passion or while committing a felony.