Of the list of charges lodged against the six officers involved in the arrest that led to
The wording may seem uncommon, but it refers to a "depraved indifference" crime, in which the defendant committed an action that was recklessly indifferent to the harm it might inflict on another person or people.
After his arrest, the 25-year-old was driven to various locations throughout West Baltimore in a police van, and prosecutors contend that officers ignored his repeated pleas for medical aid. Goodson was driving the van, and Gray died a week later of a severed spine.
In Maryland, "depraved heart" murder carries the same weight as a second-degree murder charge and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The charge is less serious than a first-degree intentional killing or murder charge, but it still involves a reckless disregard for another person's life.
If, for example, a person fires a gun in a crowded room and someone dies, he could be charged with "depraved heart" murder, according to the Cornell University Legal Information Institute.
In court filings, a Maryland appellate judge once described the charge as a "highly blameworthy state of mind" that represents more than simple negligence.
"It involves rather the deliberate perpetration of a knowingly dangerous act with reckless and wanton unconcern and indifference as to whether anyone is harmed or not," the judge wrote.
Times staff writer Joseph Tanfani contributed to this report.