Malice aforethought is the intent to cause harm to a victim before committing a crime. It is deliberately having a lack of concern for others’ lives. When this conscious determination is established, a first-degree murder is sentenced.
For instance, a criminal meticulously planned to kill someone a month before. On the other hand, a teenager accidentally killed his friend when he was showing him his father’s gun. The malice afterthought in the first situation makes it a first-degree murder.