Assisted Suicide or Capital Murder?
In 1994, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who no longer have the mental, physical, and emotional drive to continue their existence of suffering. Since then, California, Colorado, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. have adopted similar legislation, making it legal for physicians to humanely assist terminally ill patients to end their lives. Montana allows physician assisted suicide in some circumstances, decided upon by court ruling, according to ProCon.org. Forty-four states, including Florida, make physician-assisted suicide illegal, which means that sick Florida residents who wish to end their lives must do so by moving to one of the six locations that allow it, to end their lives themselves (if they have the capability), or to ask a loved one for their assistance. According to a 62-year-old Florida man, his wife asked him to kill her. He is being charged with first degree murder.
“I Want You to Kill Me”
The Florida couple had been married for 42 years when the husband fatally shot his wife in the chest just outside the assisted living facility in Boynton Beach to which she had recently moved. According to the man, his wife, who had been suffering from a quickly deteriorating mental condition, shot her on her request to end her suffering and continued decline. The man, who is facing first degree murder charges, called 911 and continued staying on the phone until authorities arrived. According to the man, her “mental health [had] been getting worse and that Pamela had stated to him several times in the past and present that she wanted to die and that she wanted him to kill her.” He also said that her dementia had broken his heart and that he “was willing to sacrifice anything to get her where she wanted to be.” He said that he hugged and kissed her after she was dead. A friend said that the couple had always been seen close together, riding their bikes together and him, the husband, always helping her during her marathon training. “When she was in her right state of mind you could tell they truly loved each other,” said the friend. “I feel like it was a mercy killing. . . He did it for her.”
No Difference in the Eyes of the Law
First degree murder is a capital punishment in Florida, and carries the sentence of life in prison or the death penalty, as per Florida statute 775.082. However, in some cases the defendant may be able to serve a split life sentence, with the first 25 years (the minimum) in prison and the remainder of their life on probation. In addition, a person who has been sentenced with first degree murder and 25 years or more is entitled to a review of their sentence.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today
First degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter are all serious crimes in the state of Florida. Contact an experienced West Palm Beach attorney with the Skier Law Firm today at 561-820-1508 for legal help. We will begin mounting an aggressive defensive for you immediately.