Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Final Exit Network Activist Enters Guilty Plea in Arizona - Agrees to Testify Against Other Defendants


Yesterday I saw the article about Wye Hale-Rowe, a member of the Final Exit Network, who was arrested in connection to a death, who pleaded guilty in Arizona. I was planning to blog it immediately, but due to family commitments I failed to put my thoughts on this blog. Now I notice that Stephen Drake from Not Dead Yet has done a good synopsis of the issue. This is a "reprint" of Stephen Drake's comments:

This could be very important news. Wye Hale-Rowe, a long time assisted suicide activist and advocate, has entered a guilty plea in Arizona to a charge of "facilitation to commit manslaughter."

The longest and most detailed coverage of Hale-Rowe's plea is in the Phoenix New Times, an independent paper that originally broke the story of the investigation that led to the arrests of Hale-Rowe and three other individuals, all "exit guides" in the Final Exit Network. The rest of the media in Arizona has treated this as almost a non-story.

From the New Times blog:

Readers may remember our story on the so-called "assisted case" of Jana Van Voorhis, a 58-year-old Phoenix woman who died mysteriously in her bed in the spring of 2007.

It was a particularly sad and bizarre yarn (even by our standards), and had a slew of dicey legal and ethical issues wrapped inside of it.

One of our key interviews in the piece was with Wye Hale-Rowe, then 79, a retired family therapist and great-grandmother who now lives in Michigan. She was then was a volunteer for the Final Exit Network, an offshoot of the now-defunct Hemlock Society.

Earlier today, Hale-Rowe pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court to facilitation to commit manslaughter, a felony.

In striking a plea deal with county prosecutors, Hale-Rowe agreed to testify against the three remaining defendants in the case, an aged Scottsdale man who allegedly also assisted Van Voorhis in killing herself, and two senior Final Exit officials from out of state. (emphasis added.)

The other defendants are facing charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit manslaughter. This already had the potential of being a very interesting and revealing trial in regard to the Final Exit Network. Van Voorhis had no significant health issues or physical disabilities. I also was looking forward to how the "training manual" would be used as evidence in the trial - the manual allegedly tells "exit guides" they are "special people" and should work to reduce the ambivalence of people who want to commit suicide - and any family members involved.

Link to a previous blog comment by Stephen Drake on the Final Exit Network Training Manual:
http://notdeadyetnewscommentary.blogspot.com/2009/04/ap-final-exit-network-manual-calls.html

Now we have Hale-Rowe copping a plea and agreeing to testify against her accomplices.

Question: Will anyone besides the folks from the Phoenix New Times cover this trial? -- Stephen Drake

Link to the original blog comment: http://notdeadyetnewscommentary.blogspot.com/2010/01/big-news-final-exit-network-activist.html

Link to the article in the Phoenix Newtimes:
http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/01/guilty_plea_today_in_phoenix_a.php

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