Florida is the only state that codifies felony murder in four separate statutes (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia each have three): first degree (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.04), second degree (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.04), third degree, and a standalone “Attempted Felony Murder” statute (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.051). Separate degrees depend on the seriousness and degree of involvement in the underlying felony and/or acts leading to the death.

In Florida, prosecutors can charge and convict any person of murder without having to prove that they intended to cause another person’s death. Prosecutors must only prove that a person or an accomplice committed or attempted to commit another specified felony and that a death occurred. Prosecutors can prove second and third degree murder even when the death was caused by a third non-party (i.e. neither the person nor their accomplice). There is no possibility in Florida for a person charged with felony murder to raise an affirmative defense–i.e. that he or she acted under duress, that they weren’t armed and had no reason to believe another participant was armed or intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death.

A conviction for felony murder carries a maximum sentence of life without parole or the death penalty (if first degree murder).

Analysis: Race

Race and Conviction Rate

In Florida, you are 8.4221 times more likely to be incarcerated for felony murder if you are Black than if you are white.

Black 8.4221x

Disproportionate Representation

While Black individuals account for only 17% of Florida’s population


they make up 47% of all incarcerated people


and 61% of those incarcerated for felony murder.


In Duval, Leon, Highlands, Putnam, and Polk counties, the overwhelming majority (over 75%) of those convicted of felony murder are Black.

In terms of gender, women make up 5.83% of felony murder convictions.

Analysis: Harsh Sentencing

In total, there are at least 1,751 persons incarcerated for felony murder in Florida (comprising 9.96% of all murder convictions). 
Of these individuals, 992 are sentenced to life in prison and 46 are sentenced to death.

The remaining 713 persons are sentenced to a cumulative

18,322 years in prison

The median quantified sentence for felony murder is 20 years in prison.

Analysis: Youthful Impact

Young people in Florida are disproportionately impacted by felony murder.

  • 27

    Median age at offense for all crimes

  • 23

    Median age at offense for felony murder

  • 205

    Persons incarcerated for felony murder in Florida that were younger than 18* at time of their offense.

    *Of these young persons, 75.12% of them are Black.

Data Request Process

Data Request Process Grade 4.2 / 5 (B)
Factors Supporting Grade
Request Responsiveness
Financial Accessibility
No Residency Required
Appeal Responsiveness

*These factors track the process--i.e. the effort and obstacles--for obtaining data from individual states under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and appeals process. These factors do not measure the quality of the data; only the process of attempting to obtain the data.

How We Collected Our Data

We created our dataset by examining Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) data for people whose charge was listed as “felony murder-nonsex,” “1st deg mur, com. of felony,” “a-s, murder o/t 782.04(4) a-s,” and “second deg.murder, comm. of felo.” In Florida, felony murder is found in the statutes for first degree, second degree, and third degree murder. We obtained these data through Florida’s public OBIS database.

Out of an abundance of caution, we omitted 169 people with “determinate sentences” – i.e. sentences not eligible for parole – since those sentences generally are not statutorily assigned to felony murder convictions in the state; we have sought to learn more about these 169 cases. This analysis encompasses those convicted of felony murder as of February 2023, but is, for the reasons noted above, a likely undercount.

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This analysis encompasses those convicted of felony murder as of February 2023, but is, for the reasons noted above, a likely undercount.