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    Unsolved Philadelphia Murder Cases – On the Rise Again

    Philadelphia is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Each year, roughly 200-300 people are murdered in Philadelphia, and the total number of homicides has steadily increased over the last three years. The steady rise comes after a peak of 331 homicides in 2012.

    In 2013, there were 246 homicides. In 2014, there were 248, and in 2015, there were 280. So far this year, there have been 23 homicides, compared to 29 in 2015 for the same period. While it’s possible the total number of murders in Philadelphia will decrease in 2016, it’s unlikely given the steady increase over the last few years. Data source:

    Related: Murder Charges in Pennsylvania – Murder Law in Pennsylvania

    Murder Investigations in Philadelphia

    Of the total number of murders in Philadelphia, roughly half are solved. In 2015, a little over 50% of murder investigations resulted in an arrest. That’s a marked decrease from 2013 when over 70% of homicides resulted in an arrest.

    In addition to increases in the number of unsolved murder cases each year, the number of nonfatal shootings has increased by roughly 20%, and drug-related murders have also increased. In 2015, there was a 55% increase in the number of drug-related killings in Philadelphia.

    Drug-related killings account for the most common types of criminal murder case in the Philadelphia court system. There are literally dozens of murder charges filed each year due to drugs. For instance, one drug dealer may rob and kill another drug dealer over drug dealing turfs. Drug overdose deaths are increasing as well. With heroin use reaching epidemic proportions, there has been a stark increase in the number of murder charges filed for drug dealing resulting in death, (18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Section 2506. Drug delivery resulting in death.)

    The West Philadelphia (Phila. P.D. 19th District) and Port Richmond/Frankford (Phila. P.D. 24th District) areas are considered hotbeds of activity.

    Criminal Murder Cases in Philadelphia

    Individuals who face murder charges in Philadelphia face steep prison sentences. A first degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life in prison sentence or death sentence. The sentence for a second degree murder conviction (felony murder) is life in prison.

    For drug related deaths where an individual dies due to ingesting drugs, i.e., overdoses, the person who provided the drugs faces up to 40 years in prison. That’s just for the crime of drug dealing resulting in death.

    If you or a loved one is facing murder charges in Philadelphia, please call our criminal attorneys for a free consultation. (215) 564-0644

    Disclaimer: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. Our lawyers provide legal advice only after accepting a case. It is imperative that any action taken is done on advice of counsel. Read full disclaimer below.

    David S. Nenner

    "Top Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer"

    Not guilty on 1st Degree MURDER CHARGE (dec. 2022, Pottsville, Pa)

    Mr. Nenner's client faced first degree murder, third degree murder and various other charges. The Commonwealth alleged that Mr. Whitted stabbed and killed a driver after an incident at a red light in West Brunswick Township. Throughout the trial, Mr. Nenner argued...

    MURDER, Att. Murder CHARGES – Negotiated Significantly Lower prison sentence (Feb. 2022, PHILA)

    Mr. Anderson faced murder and attempted murder charges after an incident in Northeast Philadelphia involving the shooting death of Anderson’s sister’s boyfriend and the boyfriend’s roommate who was shot 5 times and survived. The decedent had previously beaten the...


    The Commonwealth alleged that Mr. Shelton shot and seriously injured a male in a bar in North Philadelphia called Circles. There was video of the shooting which happened outside the bar. However, Mr. Nenner presented witnesses who testified that the person in the bar...


    Mr. Nenner's client was charged with multiple crimes (murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault, robbery, etc.) after a shooting death occurred at a gambling house in North Philadelphia. At trial, Mr. Nenner successfully presented a self-defense argument and convinced...


    Mr. Nenner’s client was charged with murder and gun charges in Philadelphia. The client was accused of shooting and killing another male on Arch Street near the 5600 block of Ithan Street in Philadelphia. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty after deliberating...

    Drug Charges in Philadelphia PA State Court – Possession of a Controlled Substance

    In most criminal drug cases in Philadelphia, there are two common charges or offenses: Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. In addition to these drug charges, there are other drug related charges, such...

    Drug Charges in Philadelphia PA State Court – What is “Possession”

    Page last reviewed and updated: October 20, 2019 One of the most common types of criminal state (PA) cases in Philadelphia is possession of drugs. Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCS) and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (PWID) often...

    Pennsylvania Second Degree Murder (AKA: Felony Murder) Law

    Philadelphia criminal lawyer David S. Nenner discusses the current status of second degree murder law in Pennsylvania. This is also known as the felony murder rule. Get info about PA court decisions and the agency theory. Not every case of death during the commission of a felony will result in a second degree murder conviction in PA.

    Philadelphia Murder Cases – Police Investigation Tactics

    Questioning Police Officer Tactics in Philadelphia Murder Cases Within the last 10 years, there have been several murder Philadelphia criminal cases in which the accused individuals were acquitted of the crimes. In these cases, the individuals spent months, if not...

    Murder Charges in Pennsylvania – Murder Law in Pennsylvania

    An explanation of Pennsylvania murder laws including Section 2502. What is murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree and murder in the third degree. Get a summary of the definitions under Pennsylvania criminal law.