AOH :: WEIRDETH.TXT|
Here's the most improbably weird suicide I've read of yet! (NOTE: One reliable source indicates that this may be a law school
hypothetical and may never have actually occurred - but it's making the Urban Legend rounds anyway!)
PS Here's an interesting email that's floating around.
At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for
Forensic Science, AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in
San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the
"On March 23, 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus
and concluded that he died from a gunshot wound to the head. The decedent
had jumped from the top ot a ten-story building to commit suicide (he left a
note indicating his despondency). As he fell past the ninth floor, his life
was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which killed him
instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent were aware that a safety
had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some window washers
that Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide anyway because of
"Ordinarily," Dr. Mills continued, " a person who sets out to commit
suicide ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism may not be what he
intended. That Opus was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below
probably would not have changed his mode of death from suicide to homocide.
But the fact that his suicidal intent would not have been successful caused
the medical examiner to feel that he had homocide on his hands."
"The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was
occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing and he was
threatening her with the shotgun. He was so upset that, when he pulled the
trigger, he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the
window, striking Opus."
"When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt,
one is guilty of the murder of sbject B. When confronted with this charge,
the old man and his wife were both adamant that neither knew that the
was loaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his
wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her, there
fore the killing of Opus appeared to be accidental. That is, the gun had
been accidentally loaded."
"The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old
couple's son loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal
incident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her sons financial
support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun
threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would
shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son
for the death of Ronald Opus."
There was an exquisite twist. "Further investigation revealed that the
son had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to
engineer his mother's murder. This led him, Ronald Opus, to jump off of the
ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through
a ninth story window."
"The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide."
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