Sanhedrin 76 - Who is Beheaded

The following transgressors face the penalty of beheading: a murderer, and people of a subverted city, who were led astray and worshipped a false god.

If a murderer struck his fellow with a stone or with a piece of iron, or if he held him in water or fire and the victim could not escape and died, the murderer is liable to execution. But if the murderer pushed him into water or into fire and he was able to escape, but he died anyway, the murderer is not liable to execution. If he incited a dog or a snake to bite a man, and a dog or a snake bit him and he died, the murderer is not liable to execution. Since he did not murder the victim directly, he cannot be executed by a human court.

If someone took the snake in his hand and held its fangs to the victim's flesh, Rabbi Yehudah rules that he is liable to the death penalty, but the Sages exempt him.

Art: Arthur William Devis - The Snake Charmer