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If one was sentenced to death by a Sanhedrin. After leaving the court to his death execution he kills a bystander.

Is he liable for that murder?

If yes, is he re-judged? Or it depends on what kind of death he's sentenced to - is it more severe than Hereg (for murder), like Skilah, or less, like Chenek, since we can't administer two executions?

  • sefaria.org/… See Bartenura – Salmononius2 Aug 1 at 17:49
  • @Salmononius2 Sounds promising but I can't decipher that, what exactly he says? Because his second line contradicts the first. – Al Berko Aug 1 at 18:02
  • כגון שעבר עבירה קלה ונגמר דינו לעבירה קלה, וחזר ועבר עבירה חמורה, סלקא דעתך אמינא כיון דנגמר דינו לעבירה קלה, האי גברא קטילא הוא, קמשמע לן - For example, he commits a sin that warrants a lesser death penalty and is convicted on the lesser penalty, then he goes out and commits a a sin that warrants a greater penalty, you might have thought that since he was already a 'dead man' over the lesser death penalty so he won't be punished with the greater penalty, therefore the Mishna comes to teach us that he does indeed receive the more severe penalty (loose translation my own). – Salmononius2 Aug 1 at 18:29
  • @Salmononius2 Tha'ts exactly how I understand, but that's not what Mishna says: "מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב בִּשְׁתֵּי מִיתוֹת בֵּית דִּין" like in the Gemmorah that stole on Shabbos and took out to Reshus Harabim. Where did he take two death penalties? Also look at the next Bartenura: "עבר עבירה שיש בה שתי מיתות. כגון חמותו, והיא אשת איש: " completely different idea. – Al Berko Aug 1 at 18:42
  • Not sure what you're saying: "like in the Gemmorah that stole on Shabbos and took out to Reshus Harabim". The Mishnah is speaking generically where one violates two distinct transgressions that obligate two different punishments (it could be any two actions i.e. kills a random person and afterwards bows to an idol). The next clause of the Mishna says that if one commits a single Aveirah that has multiple death penalties associated with it, they receive the more severe penalty. The Bartenura is just giving an example of a single action that has multiple death penalties asociated with it. – Salmononius2 Aug 1 at 19:25
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The Mishna in Sanhedrin 9:4 says that one can be obligated in a more severe death penalty for a second offence that occurred after being sentenced to a less severe death penalty for a different action.

מִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב בִּשְׁתֵּי מִיתוֹת בֵּית דִּין, נִדּוֹן בַּחֲמוּרָה. עָבַר עֲבֵרָה שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב בָּהּ שְׁתֵּי מִיתוֹת, נִדּוֹן בַּחֲמוּרָה. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, נִדּוֹן בַּזִקָּה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁבָּאָה עָלָיו:

He who incurs two death penalties imposed by the court is executed by the severer. If he committed one sin for which a twofold death penalty is incurred, he is executed by the severer. R. Jose says: “He is judged according to the first penalty which was placed upon him.”

The Bartenura explains that the case of "He who incurs two death penalties" as one who transgresses a lighter capital offense and is convicted and sentenced, and goes ahead and transgresses a more severe capital offense:

כגון שעבר עבירה קלה ונגמר דינו לעבירה קלה, וחזר ועבר עבירה חמורה,
סלקא דעתך אמינא כיון דנגמר דינו לעבירה קלה, האי גברא קטילא הוא, קמשמע לן

This is also how the Rambam explains the Mishna:

מי שנתחייב בשתי מיתות ב"ד נדון בחמורה עבר כו': דברי הראשון באדם שעבר עברה ונגמר דינו למיתה קלה ואח"כ עבר עברה חמורה סלקא דעתך שיהא נדון בקלה לפי שהוא גברא קטילא ולא ישגיחו למה שעשה אח"כ קמ"ל שהוא נדון בחמורה:

This is based on Rava's explanation of the Mishna in Sanhedrin 81a:

אמר רבא הכא במאי עסקינן כגון שעבר עבירה קלה ונגמר דינו על עבירה קלה וחזר ועבר עבירה חמורה סלקא דעתא אמינא כיון דנגמר דינו לעבירה קלה האי גברא קטילא הוא קמ"ל

Rava says: With what are we dealing here? We are dealing with a case where he violated a relatively minor transgression punishable by a less severe form of execution, and his verdict was issued for the minor transgression, and he then violated a major transgression punishable by a more severe form of execution. It could enter your mind to say: Once his verdict was finalized for the minor transgression, the legal status of this individual is that of a dead man, and anything that he does thereafter is insignificant. To counter this, the tanna teaches us that he is liable to be punished for the subsequent transgression, and if it is punishable by a more severe form of execution, he is executed with that form of execution.

So to directly address your questions: yes, he is liable for the murders. However, since the punishment for murder isn't the most severe punishment (stoning and burning are considered more severe), then the question may not always be applicable (i.e. if he was sentenced to stoning for his previous crime, that is already the most severe death penalty and can't be topped).


Of course (and H/T to Heshy for mentioning it), this is only referring to the physical punishment that Bais Din is required to mete out, since corporeal beings can not receive more than a single death sentence. Hashem is just and can ensure that every action that a person does is properly rewarded or punished according to His justice.

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    ...but obviously Hashem will judge him for his other sins no matter what. – Heshy Aug 1 at 21:11
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    Can you please replace Bartenura with Rambam ibid: "מי שנתחייב בשתי מיתות ב"ד נדון בחמורה עבר כו': דברי הראשון באדם שעבר עברה ונגמר דינו למיתה קלה ואח"כ עבר עברה חמורה סלקא דעתך שיהא נדון בקלה לפי שהוא גברא קטילא ולא ישגיחו למה שעשה אח"כ קמ"ל שהוא נדון בחמורה: " and I'll mark it as accepted, because Rambam seems much more explicit. – Al Berko Aug 20 at 8:57

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