Causes & Manners

While there is no limit to the cause or causes of death, there are only five manners of death. These manners of death listed and defined here are the only manners of death and are recognized as such in every state in our great country.


The death was caused by the actions of another person. Many people, including the media, confuse the terms homicide and murder. Murder is a criminal charge or the unlawful taking of a human life by another. 

Criminal Charge from Homicide

After the medical examiner determines the manner of death to be a homicide, then law enforcement investigate that death to determine if there is probable cause to bring the criminal charge of murder against the person who caused the death. While all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murders. If a homeowner, fearful for his or her life, kills an intruder or a law enforcement officer kills someone in the line of duty, both are considered homicides but not necessarily murder.


The death was from diseases or medical conditions such as cancer or heart attack.


A death that is unintended.


A death that is intentionally self-inflicted.


There is little or no evidence to establish, with medical certainty a cause of death.