What is the Difference Between a Homicide and a Murderer

Homicide means killing another person in self-defense. Murder is the unlawful killing of someone with bad intentions.
So, “homicide” is a general term for more than one way someone can die, such as legal killings or killings done without malice, which is also called “manslaughter.” Murder is killing someone.
It can be scary to have certain thoughts and urges when it comes to mental health.
If you are dealing with this issue, you can talk to us at Premier Mental Health Healing Pathways. We offer services for people who are having suicidal thoughts or homicidal ideations.
Few things are scarier than thinking about killing someone. These are suicidal thoughts, which can be caused by a lot of different things.

Let’s look into detail about, what is the difference between a homicide and a murderer?

The Difference Between Murder and Homicide

The words “homicide” and “murderer” are often used to mean the same thing, but they mean different things when it comes to killing someone illegally.
The more general term is “homicide,” which means any case in which one person kills another. A legal act, like self-defense or an accident, can be included.

An illegal act, like murder or manslaughter, cannot. A murderer, on the other hand, is someone who kills someone illegally and on purpose with bad intentions. Basically, everyone who murders someone kills someone, but not every murder involves a murderer.

The main differences between homicide and murders are shown in this chart:

Characteristic Murder Homicide
Definition The unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought The killing of another human being
Intent Requires intent to kill or cause serious harm Can be intentional or unintentional
Legality Always an unlawful act Can include lawful killings or those without malice aforethought
Degrees of Severity Generally, has multiple degrees based on premeditation Can include various types such as murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicides
Justification Generally not justified, except for felony murders Can be justified, such as in self-defense
Examples First-degree murder, second-degree murder, felony murder Lawful killings, premeditated, intentional, reckless, unintentional, negligent

4 Types of Homicide

  1. Murder: Criminal activity involving the planned and malicious killing of another person is called murder. When someone has malice aforethought, they mean they mean to kill or seriously hurt someone else. Murder is one of the worst crimes you can commit, and you are usually given harsh punishments, like life in prison or the death penalty.
  2. Manslaughter: Manslaughter is another type of murder that involves killing someone illegally without meaning to but not intending to. For example, someone may commit manslaughter in the heat of the moment or because they were careless or reckless instead of planning to kill someone. Most of the time, manslaughter is seen as less serious than murder, and the penalties may be less severe.
  3. Negligent Homicide: People commit negligent homicide when they kill another person by acting carelessly or recklessly. Manslaughter can be done with intent or without thinking, but negligent homicide is when someone dies because they did not take reasonable care.
  4. Justifiable Homicide: This is when killing someone is legal and makes sense in the given situation. In this group, there may be killings done in self-defense or to protect others, as well as killings done by police officers while on duty.


A murderer, on the other hand, is someone who kills someone by killing them. In other words, someone is a murderer if they kill someone on purpose and with bad intentions. It is common to call someone a “murderer” when they have been found guilty of murder in a court of law.

Understanding the Link with Mental Health

Homicidal ideation is frequently associated with underlying mental health issues such as:

  • Untreated Mental Illness: Mental illnesses like bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders can make suicidal thoughts much more likely if they are not treated.
  • Abusing Drugs: Abusing drugs, especially ones that change your mood and behaviour, can make your suicidal thoughts worse or even start them.
  • Trauma and Stress: Having suicidal thoughts is a bad way to deal with past trauma, things that cause you stress, or really bad things that are happening in your life.

In conclusion, what is the difference between a homicide and a murderer?

Homicide is the illegal killing of a person with malicious intent, while murder is the unlawful killing of a person with malicious intent.
“Murderer” refers to someone who has been found guilty of taking another person’s life on purpose and against the law. In legal situations, it is important to understand these differences.
Suicidal thoughts are also often caused by mental illnesses that are not treated, drug abuse, traumatic events, or stress.
This shows how important it is to get professional help for mental health issues to avoid bad outcomes.


What is an example of a homicidal thought?

Someone with homicidal thoughts might be someone who has strong racist or sexist beliefs and chooses to act on them by targeting members of certain groups.

Can depression cause homicidal ideation?

People with major depressive disorder do not always have thoughts of killing someone, but sometimes they do.

What causes homicidal ideation?

Homicidal ideation, or wanting to kill other people, can be caused by mental illnesses, traumatic events in childhood, drug abuse, acting on impulses, and not following through with treatment. These things make people more likely to be violent and put people and society at risk.

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