What should Johnny be charged with in The Outsiders?

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If Johnny were to be arrested, he would likely be charged with justifiable homicide or manslaughter. Ponyboy was an innocent victim of the attack by the Socs, and Johnny's impulsive decision to defend Ponyboy with the use of his knife could be defended or excused by his desire to...

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If Johnny were to be arrested, he would likely be charged with justifiable homicide or manslaughter. Ponyboy was an innocent victim of the attack by the Socs, and Johnny's impulsive decision to defend Ponyboy with the use of his knife could be defended or excused by his desire to protect an innocent person from more harm. If Johnny's move to stab Bob is deemed an overreaction, perhaps brought on by Johnny's anxiety or his deep-seeded fear rather than malicious intent, then it is possible he would be charged with voluntary manslaughter. Because Johnny acted out of strong emotion, his murder of Bob could be understood as a crime of passion, which typically carries a lesser punishment than straight-up murder in the first degree. Johnny's charges would also be complicated by the fact that he fled the scene of the crime, which can carry felony charges.

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In the novel The Outsiders, Johnny Cade is a sympathetic character who lives a difficult life and is led to stab Bob Sheldon in order to save Ponyboy's life. Unfortunately, Johnny Cade kills Bob Sheldon and immediately flees the scene. Johnny ends up traveling to Windrixville where he hides out in an abandoned church on Jay Mountain with Ponyboy.

Johnny should be charged with manslaughter for accidentally killing Bob Sheldon. Manslaughter is defined as an unlawful killing that doesn’t involve malice aforethought and typically carries a less severe punishment than first- or second-degree murder. Since Johnny Cade is a minor, he should also be charged with running away, which is something Ponyboy fears will result in him being taken away from Darry. Johnny Cade should also be charged with evading arrest and trespassing.

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