DataWest Virginia  

Inadequate Data

to perform any analysis.

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West Virginia responded immediately to our FOIA request with a link to their interactive dashboards, which shows all individuals currently housed by facility. West Virginia’s statutes, however, are not specific for felony murder. Although we attempted to use publicly available web portals to identify individuals incarcerated under felony murder, as in many other states, West Virginia does not have a statute specifically codifying felony murder, which would make it easier to identify and isolate felony murder conviction data. Instead, as in most other states, felony murder is defined within its other murder statute and the publicly available conviction and sentence information did not distinguish felony murder from other murder convictions.

Although we appealed the FOIA results and asked for more specific data related to felony murder, we have yet to receive any response.

In West Virginia, felony murder is defined in the first degree murder statute (W. Va. Code Ann. § 61-2-1).

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 committed or attempted to commit a specified felony and a death occurs.

A conviction for felony murder carries a sentence of life.

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