Any time you hear that someone is accused of murder, it immediately makes you think the worst. There are different kinds of murders, though, and not all are as straightforward as you may believe.
A second-degree murder is one that was intentional. It was not premeditated or planned. It also wasn't committed in the heat of the moment.
It can also be a death caused by someone's dangerous acts and not caring about how it affects others' lives. For example, someone driving while intoxicated who shows little remorse may be accused of second-degree murder.
In the case of a second-degree murder, it's possible for someone to intentionally kill someone else but without premeditating it. For example, if you witnessed a friend's husband beat her, you would be shocked. If you suddenly found yourself in a position where you could kill that person, but hadn't planned to, you might take that chance. You weren't defending yourself or in a passionate moment, so it's unlikely that you could claim self-defense, but a second-degree murder charge in lieu of a first-degree charge would be possible.
Second-degree murder charges are also brought against those who act indifferently toward human life. Not caring that you're speeding through a crowded area would show your indifference, just like shooting a gun off in a busy city park would. You don't necessarily want to hurt anyone, but your actions show that you don't care if you do.
If you're accused of second-degree murder, know your rights. It's a serious charge with potentially life-long consequences.
Source: FindLaw, "Second Degree Murder Overview," accessed Feb. 13, 2018