May 28, 2024

Assisted suicide or murder?

Bizarre turn of events leads to second-degree murder charge

It is clear that Kenneth Minor held the knife that killed Jeffrey Locker. But was it suicide, a mercy killing, or murder?  In July 2009 motivational speaker Locker, 52, was found slumped behind the wheel of his car stabbed through the heart. Police soon arrested Minor and charged him with first-degree murder. But as the facts became clearer, they reduced the charge to second-degree murder. Now Minor’s lawyer is describing him as a slumdog Jack Kevorkian.

Here’s the case for the defence. Locker was broke and owed substantial sums of money. He insured his life for millions of dollars and then looked for a killer. In his best-ever sales pitch, he persuaded Minor, a petty criminal from Harlem, to tie his hands with a telephone cord and hold the knife steady as Locker repeatedly impaled himself on it. “To make his plan work, he had to put out a contract on his own life,” said prosecutor Peter Casolaro.

Defence attorney Daniel Gotlin intends to highlight the grey line between euthanasia and murder for the jury. “The guy wanted to commit a Kevorkian,” he says. There have been other cases where accused murderers have used “assisted suicide” and “mercy killing” as a defense, with mixed success. Some killed relatives who purportedly wanted to die.

Euthanasia campaigners indignantly insist that this is clearly not a case of euthanasia. “We’re not talking about some lunatic being asked to hold a knife while you jump on it. That’s ridiculous,” said Geoffrey Fieger, Jack Kevorkian’s defence lawyer. ~ Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 21

Assisted suicide or murder?
Jared Yee
assisted suicide
mercy killing