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George pulled the trigger with intention to kill. He considered what he had to do (retrieve a gun, find Lennie in the exact location he knew Lennie would be in, and position Lennie to be ready to be shot). He had a good intention, but it was an intention to kill. We know this because he shot Lennie in the back of the head, told him the story of having a little place and living off the fat of the land, and he made Lennie as comfortable as he could for the moment of death. This is kind gesture, but it demonstrated to us as readers careful planning. That makes it murder.
If the charge was manslaughter, it would be on accident. There was no accident here, it was purposeful. Sometimes murder can be in the second or third degree. These are in cases of defending one's self or someone else, or being not as sane as one normally is.
I think he knew exactly what he was doing, this makes it first degree.
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