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Complete the sentences using proper words in the box.


absolute, premedi­tation, death, forcible crime, manslaughter, murder, substance

1. The unique characteristic of first degree murder is …, a design to take life.

2. The term "body of the offense," means the … of the crime.

3. The right to kill in definite circumstances is strictly limited to cases of … necessity.

4. … is defined as the killing of one human being by another with malice aforethought.

5. Killing a person to prevent the … is always considered justifiable.

6. If a homicide is not murder, it ordinarily constitutes … .

7. Criminal responsibility for murder is not imposed unless the accused's actions were the cause of ….

8. Match the synonyms:


1) police officer a) malice
2) homicide b) give rise
3) commit c) force
4) unique d) threat
5) quarrel e) row
6) danger f) personal
7) slayer g) perform
8) violence h) particular
9) private i) murder
10) provoke j) cop
11) evil k) effect
12) accord l) give
13) design m) intent
14) several n) killer
15) cause o) some
16) depraved p) evil


9. Match the antonyms:


1) punishment a) unique
2) absence b) dangerous
3) death c) assault
4) safe d) apparent
5) common e) bodily
6) defense f) innocent
7) general g) reward
8) atrocious h) long
9) sudden i) mortal
10) appear j) most
11) real k) the same
12) least l) presence
13) brief m) premeditated
14) varying n) particular
15) immortal o) life
16) mental p) human
17) guilty q) disappear







10. Answer the questions:


1. What is homicide?

2. What is the difference between manslaughter and murder?

3. What elements does the differentiation of homicide into manslaughter and murder depend upon?

4. What does the Latin term corpus delicti mean?

5. What two main component elements must be established in a homicide case?

6. What act must occur to constitute punishable homicide?

7. How many classes do homicides fall into?

8. What constitutes murder under a number of statutes? Why?

9. What is the a unique characteristic of first degree murder?

10. Why is killing of a human being by a police officer in the performance of the official duties is sometimes considered justifiable?

11. How do some statutes define second degree murder?

12. What is a unique characteristic of manslaughter?

13. In what cases can a homicide be justified?

14. How is taking the life of another classified under most statutes?

15. In what situations can killing a person prevent the commission of a forcible crime?

16. What cases is the right to kill limited to?

17. What typical crimes usually involve violence and force?

18. When may police officers use force to preserve law and order?

Say if the following statements are true or false. Comment on the true statements and correct the false ones.


1. “Malice aforethought” or “express” malice is an essential element of first degree murder.

2. Criminal responsibility for a homicide is only imposed if the fact of death is not established.

3. Manslaughter is an intentional killing of a human being.

4. The use of force to prevent the commission of an atrocious crime is not regarded justifiable.

5. Third degree murder is distinguished from other degrees by a carefully planned design to take life.

6. Murder in one of the specified degrees does not constitute a felonious homicide.

7. Manslaughter as well as murder is a felonious homicide.

8. Killing of a human being by a police officer in the performance of his/her duties is often considered justifiable.

9. Murder ordinarily constitutes a felonious homicide.

10. Manslaughter often occurs during a sudden quarrel.

11. The unique characteristic of manslaughter is premeditation.

12. Killing a person while committing an unlawful act is a first degree murder.

13. Under a number of statutes there are several degrees of homicide.





12. Speak on the three classes of homicides. Use the following words and phrases:


- deliberation;

- by means of poison or lying in wait;

- commission of a felony;

- to encompass death;

- a dangerous act;

- regard for human life.

13. Describe the difference between murder and manslaughter. Use the following words and phrases:


- without malice;

- absence of premeditation;

- deliberation;

- killing of a human being;

- malice aforethought;

- a sudden quarrel;

- unintentional killing;

- great bodily injury;

- different criminal responsibility.


Divide the text into logical parts and entitle each of them.


15. Work in pairs:

a) look at the following words and phrases and think of a story that might combine them all. You may reorder them in any way you want to using any form of the verb:


- two drunkards provoked the conflict;

- police officers were in the performance of their duties;

- the victim was injured to preserve the peace;

- the act involved force and violence;

- they are given more latitude;

- the case of absolute necessity.


B) when you have decided upon the story tell it to your partner. Then listen to that of your partner. Ask each other as many questions as you can to learn further details or clarify some points.

Give a summary of the text.

Speak individually or arrange a discussion on the following.


· Sometimes homicides are not punishable.

· Police officers may be justified in taking the life of criminals.

· The escaped prisoner had to be shot dead to prevent the commission of an atrocious crime.




Case study

Scrutinize these reports published with a four-year interval in “Time” and “The Moscow Times” describing the same sensational gloomy case.

Identify key points in the articles and extract information from them to pass on to somebody else.

Provide detailed and motivated answers to the questions given below.




Lyudmila Gorshkova, a pensioner on her way to the bakery, watched the somber procession in tears. “My God,” she asked, “when will the madness stop?” Her despair was widely shared. The sidewalks were lined with stunned Muscovites, as the long trail of veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan marched slowly by, bearing the cas­kets of seven comrades. They had not fallen in some far-off land but had been savagely ambushed by a bomb at a Moscow cemetery on November 10. Hidden un­der a table laden with vodka for toasts and triggered by remote control, the device exploded during a memorial at the grave of Mikhail Likhodei, the head of an Afghan veterans' association who was murdered in 1994. In all, the blast at the Kotlyakovskoye cemetery took 14 lives and injured dozens. Among the suspects: a rival veterans' group competing for funding.

Muscovites are used to gangland slayings, but the massacre still shocked Russian society. Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin denounced it as “a ter­rorist act”. Interior Minister Anatoli Kulikov, angered that the an­nual Police Day had been ruined, vowed to bring the “scum” to jus­tice. But the attack is only the lat­est in a series of sensational crimes that remain unsolved. Last year the number of murders in Russia doubled, to 31,000. Of the 560 killings in 1995 officially identified as contract hits, police have solved only 60.


“No one will ever pay for this horror” Gorshkova said, echoing the bleak prediction of many Russians who see their body politic riddled with institutionalized corruption. Last week the attacked veterans' group accused Yuri Yarov, an aide to Boris Yeltsin's chief of staff, Anatoli Chubais, of involve­ment. As is usual in Russia these days, the dispute concerns money. In 1993 the veterans' group was exempted from import taxes. Profits from its commercial enterprises were to go to its members, but the money disappeared. Law-enforcement officials say the veterans siphoned off the cash. The Afghan vets claim they were duped, Andrei Chepumoi, a former commando and the group's new chairman, says he and two colleagues confronted Yarov in 1994 with docu­ments bearing me latter’s signature. The financial papers proved, Chepumoi claims, that “someone was tunneling huge amounts of cash through our foun­dation”. Yarov denies any involvement in the alleged diversion, while Chepurnoi is the only vet at the meeting still alive. Likhodei was blown up within months, and his successor, Sergei Trakhirov, died in Sunday's blast.

Chepurnoi's charges may never make to it court, and the bombers may never be caught. But for most Russians, one verdict is already in. The mas­sacre is perhaps the most gory, macabre proof to date of the corrosive power of money—and the impunity Russian criminals enjoy [6].




1. Why was Lyudmila Gorshkova in despair?

2. What happened at the Kotlyakovskoye cemetery on November 10, 1996?

3. How many people died in Sunday’s blast?

4. Was the deliberation or "malice aforethought" present in this massacre?

5. What degree murder would this crime be classified under most American statutes?

6. Why was Interior Minister Anatoli Kulikov beyond himself with rage?

7. What did A. Kulikov vow to do?

8. What have Muscovites got already used to?

9. Do you think Russian criminals really enjoy impunity?

10. Have the bombers been caught now that three and a half years have already passed?

11. Why did this crime remain unsolved?




In a long-running courtroom drama now nearing its close, prosecutors are seeking long prison sentences for three Afghan veterans accused of plotting and carrying out the bloody Kotlyakovskoye cemetery bombing in November 1996.

A verdict is expected Friday, court officials say, in the case of Andrei Anokhin, Valery Radchikov, and Mikhail Smurov.

Radchikov, the former head of an Afghan veterans group, stands accused of ordering the to kill Sergei Trakhirov, head of a rival veteran’s fund. The two funds fought over lucrative tax-free import privileges handed out by the government. Trakhirov died in the blast along with 13 others. They were attending a memorial service for Mikhail Likhodei, Trakhirov’s predecessor, who was himself killed by a bomb two years before to the day. The bomb left 30 people injured.

Eventually, the government ended the import privileges after the heads of the groups who benefited were continually the victims of contract-style assassination attempts.

The trial has dragged on since April in the heavily guarded courtroom at the Matrosskaya Tishina prison. Prosecutor has asked for 15 years for Anokhin, 12 years for Radchikov and 10 years for Smurov [22].




1. What were the three Afghan war veterans accused of?

2. Why do you think Sergei Trakhirov was killed?

3. What made prosecutors seek long prison sentences for the veterans?

4. What funds did Valery Radchikov, Mikhail Likhodei and Sergei Trakhirov run?

5. What did the two funds fight over?

6. Why were they rivals?

7. Why did the government have to end the import privileges handed out to the funds previously?




A military court Friday acquitted three Afghan war veterans accused of killing 14 people in the Kotlyakovskoye cemetery blast in a case highlighting police use of force and intimidation to wrest false confessions.

In the verdict, Judge Vladimir Serdyukov said former paratroopers Andrei Anokhin and Mikhail Smurov were driven by “fear for their lives and the lives of their relatives” when they falsely confessed to carrying out the bombing November 10, 1996.

The judge also said the details of their confessions were not substantiated by evidence.

The two veterans and the third defendant, Valery Radchikov, were released Friday after almost three years in jail.

In their confessions, which were written the same day but in different police cells, Anokhin and Smurov said Radchikov paid them $60,000 to kill his rival, Sergei Trakhirov.

Once out of police hands and on trial, Anokhin and Smurov retracted their statements, saying they had been drugged, threatened with rape and beaten by police detectives.

Analysis of the physical evidence substantiated their claims that the confessions were false the judge said.

Valery Radchikov, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, said he may file suit against the officers of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General's Office who linked him, Anokhin and Smurov to the bombing and kept them in custody for almost three years [23].




1. What did the Kotlyakovskoye cemetery blast case highlight?

2. Do you believe police used force and intimidation to wrest false confessions?

3. Why do you think Anokhin and Smurov confessed to carrying out the bombing?

4. Do you agree that all the confessions must be always substantiated by evidence?

5. Why did the defendants spend almost three years in jail?

6. What means did police use to wrest false confessions?

7. Do you believe the organizers of the blast will be found?




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