DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2009.131334


A 46-year-old woman was found dead in the basement of her home after a fire. External examination of the body showed a wound to the head and soot in the nose and mouth, with soot also found internally in the trachea and bronchi upon autopsy. On questioning by the police, the woman’s husband admitted that he and his wife were having an argument that led to him accidentally knocking her unconscious by pushing her and causing her head to strike an object. The husband, believing her dead, then set fire to the house to hide his wife’s death. Police charged the husband with first-degree intentional felony murder (intentionally causing death while committing or attempting to commit arson) and second-degree unintentional felony murder (unintentionally causing death while committing a felony).