By request, a husband shoots his terminally ill wife; he’s charged with manslaughter

This New York Times story raises a moral conundrum. Click on the screenshot to read it:

The upshot: Lori Conners, 61 and a resident of Connecticut, was terminally ill with metastasized ovarian cancer. She also suffered from Lyme disease, which apparently conflicted with her chemotherapy regimen, making her very sick. She had been married to her husband Kevin for 40 years, and had four children and six grandchildren.

Lori wanted to die. As the Times reports,

She was “constantly” writing suicide letters, he told investigators, who found 13 such letters in the couple’s home, including three on her nightstand. When she was found, Ms. Conners “didn’t have much head hair,” the warrant noted, because of chemotherapy treatments.

. . . The two [Kevin and Lori] talked about taking razor blades to her wrists or getting the tranquilizing drug Klonopin. They debated going to Vermont, where the terminally ill can legally be prescribed medication to die, but she wasn’t a resident. Last summer, she tried using the sleep drug Ambien and whiskey, but did not overdose.

Connecticut doesn’t have an assisted dying provision in its law, although there is one stuck in the state legislature.

If they had that law, what happened wouldn’t have happened, and her husband wouldn’t be charged with manslaughter. Afraid that if she shot herself with the couple’s .38 caliber gun she’d botch the job, Lori asked her husband to do the deed for her. He shot her in the head last September, killing her.

But then he tried to make it look like a suicide, changing clothes, putting the gun on the pillow beside Lori’s body, and washing his hands and changing his shoes, which had blood on them. He told the cops that she had killed herself, but such a ruse is easily dispelled, and he quickly confessed to having shot her at her request.

Kevin Conner now faces manslaughter charges, and could go to jail for many years, all for helping his wife end her life.

Is this just? Well, he did lie to police and try to cover up what happened, and that is both wrong and illegal. On the other hand, that’s what one has to do to help a dying loved one make their exit in states where there are no assisted dying bills.

But were I on the jury, I would find him not guilty, nullifying any law that what he did was illegal. That is because there is almost nothing to be gained by finding him guilty.

I see three purposes to punishment: sequestering a person who might hurt others, attempted reformation of criminals, and deterrence of others from doing similar deeds. The first two don’t apply here: Kevin was not by any account a bad guy who needed to be removed from society, and he doesn’t need reformation.

As for the third—deterrence—there is a case to be made. One can envision “slippery slope” arguments involving killing invalids or dying people who don’t want to be killed, and then claiming that they really asked to be killed. Lying to police doesn’t help matters, either. It would have been much better for Kevin and Lori for her to have written a document saying that she requested to be killed, preferably with witnesses (but they would likely be accessories to the crime). But the suicide letters mentioned above show her state of mind.

I would still vote “not guilty” were I on the jury, and perhaps Kevin will go free. Of course I ask readers to weigh in below. How would you vote?’

But these sad situations are the result of states and countries refusing to pass assisted-dying bills (only a few states in America have them). People are thus forced to either linger in unspeakable torment, as did Lori, or take matters into their own hands; and if anybody helps them die, they’re accessories to a crime. This should not have to happen.

 

91 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    This is such a terrible scenario, I am very sad about it.

    I think a trial would not be so cut and dried – I’d have to know the precise definition of “man slaughter”. I’d hope there’s a particular set of conditions that would allow him to be free.

    That said, we have no idea what symptoms Lyme disease coupled to cancer treatment will produce- it could easily be an anemic depressive state, which might be ameliorated with antidepressants. It would be a very complex scenario that the doctors and nurses would be expected to have helped with, if alerted.

    Terrible.

    • Stephen Bracker
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      In Connecticut: “A person is guilty of
      manslaughter in the second degree when he intentionally causes or aids another person, other than by force, duress or deception, to commit suicide.” This varies from state to state, and certainly lumps mercy killing with far more reprehensible acts of manslaughter. Assuming that there is no credible evidence of reprehensible motivations, and regardless of the deception in this case, I would of course vote not-guilty as an act of “jury nullification”.

  2. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I would vote to acquit in this case. Jury nullification is a moral duty when the law is an ass to the extent of penalizing an act of love. The Slippery Slope argument fails because it is just as easy for cops to figure out that someone didn’t really ask to be killed as it was to figure out that in this case, the husband shot his terminally ill wife. He should have recorded his wife’s wish as a video on his phone (unless, given their age, he still used a rotary phone). He would still have been charged under the law of the state, but the case for jury nullification would have been that much stronger.

    • Historian
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Jury nullification would take place when a jury acquits a defendant in a criminal case when it is clear that the defendant broke the law. This takes place usually when the jury considers the law to be morally unjust. I am leery about jury nullification because it is the jury’s duty to render a verdict based on the facts and law, not to decide how moral a law is. If jury nullification were to become commonplace the rule of law would break down. In this case, I would vote for conviction with the hope that the judge would hand down the most lenient sentence possible. This case may have the positive effect of prodding the Connecticut legislature to pass an assisted suicide law. Kevin performed an act of civil disobedience and should have been prepared to suffer the consequences for it.

      • Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        > I am leery about jury nullification because it is the jury’s duty to render a verdict based on the facts and law, not to decide how moral a law is.

        “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” — John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court

        “The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts” — Samuel Chase, U. S. Supreme Court Justice and signer of the Declaration of Independence

        “The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.” — U. S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

        “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.” — Harlan F. Stone, the 12th Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Patrick. I’m with you. The law in this particular case was wrong and oppressive. It just added another impediment that the couple didn’t need. IMO it’s not just the jury’s prerogative, it’s their absolute duty to recognise that and find Not Guilty.

          cr

          • Historian
            Posted June 22, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            Why don’t we forget about the law and juries? We can let every case be decided by an internet poll where people can vote their “feelings.” Let the wisdom of the crowd prevail! It would save the court system a lot of money. Actually, the U.S. had the equivalent of such a system in the South. There, the good white folk said to hell with the law. When they felt that African-Americans accosted white women the simplest resolution was to lynch them. There was no need to waste money on a trial. They had no doubt that they were doing the moral thing.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

              Now you’re being stupid and ridiculous. Where did I ever suggest anything remotely like that? Nowhere is it suggested that a jury should have the right to ‘take the law into their own hands’ and act prejudicially towards anybody. What is suggested is that a jury has the right and obligation to nullify unfair application of an unjust or inappropriate law.

              The quotes Patrick furnished support that.

              You’re suggesting that people who have acted with unimpeachable motives should be punished for no reason whatever other than breaking an unjust and oppressive law? Well, to quote Hitch, fuck that.

              cr

              • Posted June 24, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

                How do you decide whether a law is unjust? The place to change unfair and unjust laws is in the legislature and not to leave it to the whims of twelve semi randomly selected people in a court room.

              • Posted June 24, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

                jeremy pereira writes:
                > The place to change unfair and unjust laws is in the legislature and not to leave it to the whims of twelve semi randomly selected people in a court room.

                The former chief justices of the US Supreme Court cited above disagree with you. A fully informed jury is an important bulwark against tyranny and an essential balance to the legislative and executive branches of government.

        • Evan Plommer
          Posted June 23, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Yes. Jurors are to listen too the facts at trial and render their decision then.

          • drakodoc
            Posted June 26, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            The main functions of a “jury of your peers” is to PROTECT the accused from an unjust government. Otherwise you have judges, employees of the government, deciding guilt. Way too much opportunity for collusion. Of course a jury can vote for nullification if they believe the government is wrong and trying to convict a person using what the jurors determine to be an unjust or unfair law. I would probably vote not guilty in this case.

  3. Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    How would you vote?

    Not guilty.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s just more of what is wrong caused by religion. Face facts. The changing of laws to allow for a more dignified and voluntary death is all wrapped up in religion.

    Of course he is not guilty.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re right. In the case of the Canadian preacher Eric MacDonald, I seem to remember that the Catholic Church was one of the main opponents to an assisted dying law in Canada. I suspect it’s the same everywhere.

    • BJ
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I know plenty of non-religious people who oppose assisted suicide. I think it’s human instinct. Most people rely on their moral feelings about something, and this is the kind of thing that just feels wrong to many people. Killing someone who isn’t dead seems like murder to a lot of people, regardless of circumstances beyond those like self-defense.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 23, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        We should never ignore such moral “instincts”; there may be sound evolutionary and/or cultural reasons for them.

        But we should never be slaves to such instincts either. It was on the basis of such instincts, after all, that people long opposed things like the mixing of the races and same-sex marriage.

        We should always be willing to reexamine the foundation for such instincts in light of accumulated human learning and experience. Under that standard, opposition to assisted suicide bears up poorly.

    • tomh
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      The Church was certainly a main opponent in Oregon when the Death with Dignity Act was passed 20 years ago. Along with Right to Life, the anti-abortion group. Right to Life is vigorously opposing the current effort to remove the requirement of a doctor certifying that a patient has less than 6 months to live, thus expanding the reach of the law.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, g*d is almost always in the way of better laws on many issues. We have much more concern for the suffering of our pets than we have for our parents. We have been suffering g*d since before our Constitution was made. Just look at the abortion issue in Missouri today. The religious have no concern whatsoever for the healthcare of women. And frankly, they don’t give a damn about their kids once they are born.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    In most U.S. states, we treat our dying pets with more dignity than our fellow man. Yet another human sickness brought on by religion.

    • Steve Gerrard
      Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      This has always galled me. Putting down a pet is seen by everyone as the humane thing to do. Why do so many balk at it when it comes to human misery?

      • rickflick
        Posted June 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        I made the same observation when the Vet was euthanizing our pet Maggie. She said many people say the same thing. Seems to me there is a consensus on that point.

      • tomh
        Posted June 23, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Because religions don’t object to treating pets that way, but humans are born to suffer. They don’t like it when anyone interferes with that.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 23, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Extreme suffering brings you closer to Jesus. Don’t you know. Refuse Novocaine at the dentist.

  6. Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    This story only exemplifies the coarseness of the State when dealing in matters of love and devotion – not guilty.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted June 23, 2019 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      Ouch. I see your point.

  7. Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    That’s a tough one, and terribly sad.

    I agree that for society to allow this kind of DIY euthanasia invites us down a slippery slope. In this case it is clear the woman had made a well-considered decision to die — but what about a mercy killing of someone with dementia? It sounds like the police handled this quite sensitively since they charged the guy with manslaughter rather than premeditated murder, which, technically, it was. They did their duty, but they’re leaving it to the judicial system to sort out, which is appropriate until the laws change.

    If I were on that jury with you I’d vote for acquittal also.

    For those interested in suicide, I recommend the website http://lostallhope.com/ , an informative, compassionate source of information on how to think about it and how do it responsibly (starting with a warm and inspiring essay challenging the reader to reconsider).

  8. Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Not guilty. Assisted suicide is humane. Allowing someone to die an excruciating, protracted death is the height of cruelty. The opposition to assisted suicide is rooted in religion, because it interferes with ‘God’s will’ that someone suffer unnecessarily.

    • Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      One can easily not ‘assist’ suicide just let the person alone. A person can starve to death without requiring to use lethal weapons.

      • Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        I was referring to legal assisted suicide by a medical team. It is time for all states to make it legal.

  9. BJ
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    In the past, my father has said to me “if I ever get to that point [the point where he’s going to die and is in terrible pain], just shoot me.” He’s said it multiple times, and I promised I would do something (not a bullet though). Morally, I don’t think this man did anything wrong.

    The problem is being on the jury. He committed the crime according to the law. As a juror, do you disregard the law, or follow it regardless of the circumstances? I honestly don’t know…

    • rickflick
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      That is quite a dilemma. Now, if the jury knew the judge had complete discretion in sentencing, and knew he was sympathetic, you could go ahead and follow the letter of the law and convict knowing the punishment would be nil.

      • Peter N
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        No, because he’d still be a convicted murderer. Jury nullification is the way to go in this case.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 22, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t know there was such a thing. It means the jury can actually determine the case is unfair and vote to acquit. I like it.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      BJ, if I was on a jury, I would say Fuck the law. Without hesitation. Obviously in this case the law is not only wrong but toxic. It is entirely within the ambit of a jury to decide a case on all the circumstances and that includes deciding that the law is being misapplied.

      Lawyers (and some judges) would have one believe otherwise but the jury is, fundamentally, there to (attempt to) ensure fair play.

      cr

  10. rickflick
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    If the motive doesn’t fit, you must acquit.

  11. randy bessinger
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Not quilty.

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Why didn’t she do it herself? It seems she wasn’t physically incapable. She had tried to commit suicide before. I’d want to hear the evidence; this could all too easily be a case of his having had enough.

    • JezGrove
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was puzzled about why she couldn’t take action herself – you would think a suitable overdose would be less traumatic and less open to misinterpretation all round.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Deliberate ODs nearly always fail – 1.5% percent success rate. The body is very good at forcefully rejecting ingested drugs & poisons. STATS

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Why didn’t she do it herself? NYT:

      “Mr. Conners, 65, admitted that he had held the gun. He could not bear to see his wife of 42 years continue to suffer, he said, and she had been fearful she would flinch and botch the job.”

      Taken at face value [i.e. that the husband was carrying out her wishes] it makes sense that the hubby did the deed for her. It takes some mental hardened steel to do a good job yourself.

      I can imagine the couple researching methods & having long conversations re the details & the consequences of both success, part success & failure. What a position for a couple to be in! Although firearms suicide has a high success rate, there’s still a significant chance of it being botched causing unnecessary suffering, eg ending up as a helpless quadriplegic or having to eat with no jaw.

      A handgun to the head is a 90%/10%** gamble – to get the 90% closer to 100% requires a shotgun or precise placement of a pistol – difficult to do yourself since you can’t see the ‘ideal’ entry point.

      I found this remarkable case via Wiki HERE

      “In February 1995, a man committed suicide on parkland in Canberra. He took a pump action shotgun and shot himself in the chest. The load passed through the chest without hitting a rib, and went out the other side. He then walked fifteen meters, pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head, once again surviving the shot. After reloading the shotgun, he leaned the shotgun against his throat, and shot his throat and part of his jaw. He then reloaded a final time, walked 200 meters to a hill, sat down on the slope, held the gun against his chest with his hands and operated the trigger with his toes. This shot entered the thoracic cavity and demolished the heart, killing him.”

      ** The official overall figure for firearms suicide is a lowly 82.5%, but that includes impulse suicides & people who shoot themselves in the stomach or the heart [missable]

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        good grief, night of the living dead.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        That possibility would effectively discourage me from ever trying to shoot myself, even if I had access to a gun. Probably the best method would be to stick the muzzle of a heavy-gauge shotgun in your mouth and blow the top of your head off. But would you really want anybody you cared even the slightest about to find you like that?

        cr

        • rickflick
          Posted June 22, 2019 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

          I saw a documentary on a guy who built a business using solar panel to produce electricity, but he was a few decades ahead of the technology curve and the business was failing. He had multiple serious health issue and decided to take himself out. He advertised this to his family and to the documentary cameras and told everybody to leave the property and call the police who would discover his body out in the back yard. The family seemed to accept his decision. Problem solved. Nobody goes to trial.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted June 23, 2019 at 12:10 am | Permalink

            Wow. I would say that represented unusual circumstances – for example, that nobody in the family tried to stop him.

            Even so, the family weren’t bullet-proof. It would still be open to some prosecutor, deprived of his normal prey, to try to bring trumped-up charges under assisting-suicide or conspiracy or ‘accessory’ statutes.

            cr

            • rickflick
              Posted June 23, 2019 at 12:44 am | Permalink

              As I recall the family had come to understand his wishes to make an exit rather than to go through the medical gauntlet that lay ahead of him. He had discussed this with them for quite some time. The local agencies apparently did not pursue the issue. He had left an extensive video explanation which exonerated the family.
              I remember Dr. Kevorkian video taped his patience explaining their circumstances and willingness to die, yet he was prosecuted and convicted in Michigan.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I thought about this too. This will certainly be a consideration at his trial. The many notes in which she stated she wanted to die will help his case. I wonder if she was just afraid to use a gun or worried about botching it up?

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Botching it up the hubby says.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted June 23, 2019 at 1:16 am | Permalink

          And, we should take his words as truth. I see your point. We have no reason to believe anything he says.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:04 am | Permalink

            “I see your point” – is that snark Helen? Why the snark if that’s what it is? We have reason to weigh somewhat in his favour given the history – the notes, past behaviour, character they are all reasons to lean towards taking his words as truthful.

            • Helen Hollis
              Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:30 am | Permalink

              No snark, I was in agreement with you. To a point. You said
              Botching it up the hubby says

              My comment was asking for truth. “the hubby says” is what you offered.
              At what point in time ever is this great evidence to convict?

              • Helen Hollis
                Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:41 am | Permalink

                When we have access to the entire file, then- and only then can you jump to conclusions. Even then, you should use better judgement.
                We do not have enough evidence.
                If you work for the State, I see your willingness to jump on this. Otherwise, you need to calm down.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted June 23, 2019 at 3:03 am | Permalink

              Helen Hollis

              “When we have access to the entire file, then- and only then can you jump to conclusions. Even then, you should use better judgement. We do not have enough evidence. If you work for the State, I see your willingness to jump on this. Otherwise, you need to calm own.

              You’ve got me puzzled now Helen – if the above is directed at me I think you’re out of line. Telling me to calm down? And what does “If you work for the State, I see your willingness to jump on this” even mean?

              • Helen Hollis
                Posted June 23, 2019 at 3:21 am | Permalink

                Do you say what you mean, and mean what you say? If you do, I do not think there is a puzzle. It is very simple. You are supporting a position with flaws

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted June 23, 2019 at 3:41 am | Permalink

                There is a puzzle – it doesn’t seem to be me who “needs to calm down”.

  13. Tom Besson
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Reading this reminded me of Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. Lawrence developed his theory at the University of Chicago, as well. It looks like the husband and the state in which he lives are on two different levels. I’d vote to acquit and urge the government to reconsider its’ assisted suicide laws.

  14. GBJames
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Not guilty x 10.

    I worry about my own future here in a state without humane end-of-life options.

  15. Glenda Palmer
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Not guilty. Kevin Conner did the brave, decent thing. I hope for the best possible outcome for him.

    In the past year I have had three close friends make their exit using, what we refer to in Canada, as MAiD (medical assistance in dying). All three had very painful reasons, two with terminal cancer and one late stage MS. The deceased and families all said they were so grateful to have MAiD legalized and to be able to use this gentle approach to end the misery.

    At this point MAiD can only be applied for and used by people with terminal illness and the ‘sound of mind’. Therefore an Advance Directive request for MAiD pre-signed by a person who later develops dementia such as ALZ is not acceptable. For this reason it seems to me the legislation does not go far enough yet but it is a start.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted June 23, 2019 at 3:29 am | Permalink

      I hope you type and think about these words with real life experience. Somehow, in your delivery, as a daughter of a mother who suffered MAID and died, I can not see your viewpoint.

      • GBJames
        Posted June 23, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        “Suffered MAID” is an odd phrase. The whole point of medical aid in dying is to remove suffering.

  16. Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Not remotely guilty of anything other than offending outdated and poisonous religious “morals” that put offending the invisible above being a decent and compassionate human being.

  17. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Despite the reality of the ‘slippery slope’, I’d vote not guilty here.

  18. Posted June 22, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    “Afraid that if she shot herself with the couple’s .38 caliber gun she’d botch the job, Lori asked her husband to do the deed for her.”

    This was their first mistake—and a ridiculous one at that. He could have easily helped her shoot herself without botching it up. Then he wouldn’t have had to make it look like a suicide, because it would have been a suicide. Then there’s always jumping off of a building; killing oneself isn’t really all that hard.

    The guy’s not guilty, but he’s pretty stupid.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 23, 2019 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      “Pretty stupid”? Harsh words, how about “he loves his wife, he acted irrationally” – totally human & natural behaviour from a distressed man who had never been in such a situation before.

      As to jumping off a building, gory acts of suicide away from the privacy of ones own home are not ‘tidy’ nor discreet – innocent bystanders are drawn in to the tragedy & suffer the memory for the rest of their lives. Most sane suicides factor in the effect on unknown third parties of their actions – even the ‘pros’ i.e. cops [especially traffic cops], emergency services etc don’t become inured to this. Police mental health problems are so prevalent it’s a cliche.

      • Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Valid point about “gory acts of suicide.” Put me in mind of this ditty by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

        I know a hundred ways to die.
        I’ve often thought that I’d try one:
        Lie down beneath a motor truck
        Some day when standing by one.

        Or throw myself from off a bridge—
        Except such things must be
        So hard upon the scavengers
        And men that clean the sea.

        I know some poison I could drink.
        I’ve often thought I’d taste it.
        But mother bought it for the sink,
        And drinking it would waste it.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 24, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          Very good 🙂

  19. Charles Sawicki
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Another awful result of inhuman religious beliefs based on the idea that some god owns your life. North Dakota also has no assisted dying provision in its law. We had a recent similar case, where an old married couple were both suffering greatly and attempted to die together. The husband shot and killed his wife. He shot himself but survived and was charged with murder. The charge was eventually dropped and he was committed to the North Dakota State Hospital for treatment.
    My mother spent the last few months of her life in a nursing home. Visiting I could hear some patients screaming continuously. Staff would sometimes roll out patients for presentations or other events. Many of them were basically vegetables unaware of their surroundings, These facilities keep them alive for profit.
    I’ve killed our dogs that couldn’t walk or see and humans should have the right to end their suffering without the intervention of cruel, idiot believers.

  20. Frank Bath
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Not guilty. I can imagine a situation where a marriage partner mercifully kills the other by request and is prepared to take whatever the law says, their loss of liberty, or even life, being the measure of their love.

  21. Posted June 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Not a tough decision at all.
    Acquit.

    I’ve been close to that situation myself, saved by (me) receiving an organ transplant. Due to the nature of the procedure (lung transplant) I’ll almost certainly be going there again as transplant is not a permanent fix and is not offered over a certain age group. I’ll be prepared.

    To those who oppose assisted release on grounds that medical science can control pain should know that there are some conditions that are intolerable, but not necessarily painful.

    It is reprehensible that the laws preventing assisted suicide drive lay people and loved ones into such messy, uncontrolled procedures that are sometimes botched.

  22. Steve Pollard
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    In the UK, assisted dying is still illegal. There have been a number of well-publicised cases of people with progressive degenerative conditions who have gone to court to request the right to be helped to die. The courts have consistently refused, and said that it is for Parliament to legislate accordingly. Parliament has declined to do so.

    That said, the courts have also generally taken a compassionate view of spouses or other family members who have helped to relieve the suffering of individuals by assisting them to die. Usually this has involved, for instance, drug overdoses or suffocation. I’m not sure how UK courts would view the use of firearms.

    But in this case: not guilty.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the use of a gun, in Britain, would complicate the issues and probably prejudice the chances of the accused at trial. Simply because guns are simply not accepted in Britain as a common everyday item.

      Sans that, I would like to think that the court would take the sensible view that there is nothing to be gained by persecuting an ‘offender’ who has been through enough already.

      cr

      • rickflick
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        I thought the British always use arsenic in tea. 😎

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

          I think that’s more commonly used without the request or consent of the deceased. 🙂

          cr

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:17 am | Permalink

          Ronald Reagan was considered for Cary Grant’s part in that brilliant, creaky play turned movie Arsenic & Old Lace – a lucky escape for us viewers – I think the base was elderberry wine. Much harder to do now over in the UK you just can’t get the flypapers any more.

  23. Posted June 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Starvation is peaceful, according to most of the evidence. Also probably a common method when other methods are not available.

  24. Rita Prangle
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Not Guilty.

  25. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    This is not a moral conundrum in any way. Not Guilty.

    The only people who should be in jail are the pathologically misguided, religiously motivated, mendacious arrogant buffoons of the ‘pro-life’ movement who put other people in this dreadful position.

    cr

  26. Posted June 22, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Archaic laws based on radical Christianity; I would vote to acquit the poor man.

  27. rickflick
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Having to shoot someone (or oneself) to end their misery sounds pretty primitive and messy. There are other methods. Suicide Kits can be bought online that make the process easy. It consists of a plastic bag to place over the head and a tube to attach to a helium tank, available at party stores.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/suicide-kits-the-91-year-old-woman-selling-instant-death-on-the-internet

    • Posted June 22, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      I am trying not to think about the high pitched squeaky sounds of their final words.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        “Don’t forget to feed the cat”?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      And even if (as noted in the article) some officious busybody makes selling such a ‘kit’ illegal (which would be really pointless, might as well outlaw gravity), the necessary materials are so common – a plastic hose and a plastic bag and maybe a bit of adhesive tape, the only slightly unusual item is the helium or nitrogen tank – that anyone can assemble one.

      But even if they did make it illegal, Ms Hydorn could just revert to selling the how-to book. First Amendment.

      It’s just occurred to me that I’ve got such a kit in the house. I never assembled it with any intent, all the bits are just there.

      cr

      • rickflick
        Posted June 22, 2019 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Ms Hydorn could just revert to selling the how-to book.

        She’d need a ghost writer to gussy it up some, but she has dozens of ghosts by now. 😎

  28. Muffy
    Posted June 22, 2019 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with you.

  29. Posted June 22, 2019 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Not guilty.

  30. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    The easiest, most effective and kindest way to kill oneself is soft hanging.

  31. Posted June 23, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely not guilty.

  32. Steve Gerrard
    Posted June 23, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Using a gun is a bit troubling, I must say.

    There was a time when doctors could more or less help out by prescribing a strong pain medication or two, and carefully explaining that “if you took two of these and four of those at the same time, you would fall asleep and never wake up, so be careful,” or words to that effect.

    I am impressed that the Oregon law has been in place for 20 years now, and does not often make the news, as there are very few problems with it. It is something that can be done in a sensible way.

  33. Posted June 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    A lesson I have held to since my childhood:

    “There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute.”

  34. Posted June 24, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Suicide: My body, my choice.

    Also, medical assistance should be available to those who wish to end their life for whatever reason. Period. Medical necessity notwithstanding.


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