Any fact or circumstance that increases the severity or culpability of a criminal act. Aggravating factors include recidivism, lack of remorse, amount of harm to the victim, or committing the crime in front of a child, among many others. The recognition of particular aggravating factors varies by jurisdiction.
Martha was convicted of two counts of murder. She was sentenced to death because of the aggravating factors pertaining to her crime. Specifically, the aggravating factors were that the murders involved torture and were committed for pecuniary gain.