I have two questions:

  • Is stealing your stolen cell phone considered a crime?

  • Is killing a dead person punishable?

Please provide legitimate sources.

  • 2
    How exactly do you kill a dead person? I understand the first one, but the second one is a logical impossibility. Are you referring to "abuse of a corpse"?
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 29, 2021 at 15:44
  • Yes somewhat like that. Is the first one considered a crime?
    – Quetyy
    Oct 29, 2021 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Doing something to a dead body that would kill it if it were a living person is not murder, manslaughter, or any form of homicide in any country that I know of. It may be a crime to mutilate a corpse, or some similar provision. It may also be attempted murder.

For example, in the US state of Oklahoma, section §21-1161.1 provides:

A. It is unlawful for any person to knowingly and willfully desecrate a human corpse for any purpose of:

  1. Tampering with the evidence of a crime;

  2. Camouflaging the death of human being;

  3. Disposing of a dead body;

  4. Impeding or prohibiting the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime;

  5. Altering, inhibiting or concealing the identification of a dead body, a crime victim, or a criminal offender; or

  6. Disrupting, prohibiting or interfering with any law enforcement agency or the Office of the State Medical Examiner in detecting, investigating, examining, determining, identifying or processing a dead body, cause of death, the scene where a dead body is found, or any forensic examination or investigation relating to a dead body or a crime.

B. Upon conviction, the violator of any provision of this section shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term not more than seven (7) years, by a fine not exceeding Eight Thousand Dollars ($8,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

In addition, if the person thought that the dead body was a living person, and tried to kill that person. There may be a charge of attempted murder on which a conviction might be possible. See "attempted murder" of a dead man? for details.

In general, if property (such as a cell phone) has been stole from a person, that person my reclaim such property, and doing so is not theft. However, a person is not in most jurisdictions permitted to enter someone else's property, to break and enter, or to assault a suspected thief in order to recover property. A person who actually observes a theft (or other serious crime) is in many jurisdictions allowed to pursue the thief/criminal and use reasonable non-deadly force to stop and detain the thief pending the arrival of law enforcement, who should be promptly summoned. The details vary widely from place to place. The use of deadly force, such as a gun, is generally not permitted, except in proper self-defense, but again the details vary widely.

  • Can someone who attempts to kill a dead person, not knowing they are dead, be guilty of attempted murder?
    – Nemo
    Oct 29, 2021 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Nemo that is a separate question, which I think has been asked and answered on law.se before, See law.stackexchange.com/questions/60629/… Oct 29, 2021 at 16:22
  • I wondered if that might be what the OP meant. Doesn't make much sense otherwise
    – Nemo
    Oct 29, 2021 at 16:25
  • @Nemo I have added the link to my answer. Oct 29, 2021 at 16:33

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