While most murder investigations focus on the person or persons who caused the fatal injury, former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy said prosecutors could charge many rioters with felony murder, even if they were nowhere near Sicknick.
Under the doctrine of felony murder, which applies in the District of Columbia, any murder that occurs during the commission of one of several underlying felonies is chargeable as felony murder.
In the federal murder code, 11 underlying felonies which can be part of a felony murder charge are listed — one which could be applicable to the Jan. 6 takeover is burglary.
And, therefore, a murder that occurred during the course of a burglary could be potentially charged as felony murder,” Heaphy said.
As with any crime, federal or state, prosecutors have to weigh whether charges can be sustained in court.
Prosecutors have not named any suspects in connection with the physical altercation that led to Sicknick’s death.
A federal conviction for first-degree murder in the District of Columbia, unlike in D.C. Superior Court, is eligible for the death penalty. »