15.2502C. Third-Degree Murder

1. Third-degree murder is any killing with malice [that is not first- or second-degree murder]. The defendant has been charged with third-degree murder. To find the defendant guilty of this offense, you must find that the following three elements have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, that [name of victim] is dead;
Second, that the defendant killed [him] [her]; and
Third, that the defendant did so with malice.
[2. The word “malice” as I am using it has a special legal meaning. It does not mean simply hatred, spite, or ill-will.
Malice is a shorthand way of referring to particular mental states that the law regards as being bad enough to make a killing murder.]
[First Alternative]
3. For murder of the third degree, a killing is with malice if the perpetrator’s actions show his or her wanton and willful disregard of an unjustified and extremely high risk that his or her conduct would result in death or serious bodily injury to another. In this form of malice, the Commonwealth need not prove that the perpetrator specifically intended to kill another. The Commonwealth must prove, however, that the perpetrator took action while consciously, that is, knowingly, disregarding the most serious risk he or she was creating, and that, by his or her disregard of that risk, the perpetrator demonstrated his or her extreme indifference to the value of human life.
[Second Alternative]
3. For murder of the third degree, a killing is with malice if the perpetrator acts with [a wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, cruelty, recklessness of consequences, and a mind regardless of social duty indicating an unjustified disregard for the probability of death or great bodily harm and an extreme indifference to the value of human life] [a conscious disregard of an unjustified and extremely high risk that his or her actions might cause death or serious bodily harm].
[On the other hand, a killing is without malice if the perpetrator acts [with a lawful justification or excuse] [or] [under circumstances that reduce the killing to voluntary manslaughter].]
4. When deciding whether the defendant acted with malice, you should consider all the evidence regarding [his] [her] words, conduct, and the attending circumstances that may show [his] [her] state of mind including [state of mind]. [If you believe that the defendant intentionally used a deadly weapon on a vital part of [name of victim] ‘s body, you may regard that as an item of circumstantial evidence from which you may, if you choose, infer that the defendant acted with malice.]
[Where enhanced penalty is sought:]
If you have found the defendant guilty of murder in the third degree, you will also be asked to indicate on the verdict slip whether or not you have also found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim was less than 16 years of age.