Texas Penal Code 6.03 provides us with handy definitions of the intentional and knowing mental states: “(a) A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to a result of his conduct when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result. (b) A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his conduct when he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.” Murder is a result oriented offense, i.e. intentionally resulting in death, so at a minimum under the first definition it must be proven that the actor was aware that his action was reasonably certain to cause death. That is the minimum proof required.
But, that is not the only way to prove murder. The second definition is much like the first, but that the person intended to cause serious bodily injury (such as shooting or stabbing a person) and performed an act clearly dangerous to human life (such as shooting or stabbing a person, giving them a deadly drug, pouring acid on them, etc.).
If you or someone you know is being investigated or prosecuted for a crime, call Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Micah Belden at 903-744-4252.