Thursday, August 9, 2012

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter for "assisting" a suicide death in Virginia

Paul Stephen Bricker (27) pled guilty to a charge of manslaughter in the "suicide" death of  Gerard Curran (45), a navy chief, and a superior of Bricker.

Bricker did not exercise personal gain, or consider Curran's life as being "not worth living" but he did intentionally assist in the suicide of Curran and he may have caused Curran's death. Bricker knowingly stabbed Curran to cover up the suicide death but he also enabled Curran to carry-out his suicide by not reporting his suicidal thoughts and by engaging in his suicide plan.

An article written by Kathy Adams and published in The Virginian Pilot on August 6 stated:
Gerard Curran's life was falling apart.

Gerard Curran
The 45-year-old Navy chief had separated from his wife and moved out of the home they shared with their two sons, according to court testimony. He'd been abusing alcohol, and in April 2009 he stabbed himself in the chest, telling police an intruder attacked him in his home.

Curran became so desperate he pleaded with a junior sailor he mentored to help him end his life, eventually persuading him to make his suicide look like a robbery, according to testimony. He said he wanted to make sure his family would still receive Navy death benefits.
The Virginian Pilot then reported:
Paul Bricker
At first Bricker refused, but then he changed his mind.

"He seemed desperate, like he was running out of time," Bricker testified Monday.

They picked First Landing State Park, where they met July 29, 2009. There, Curran strangled himself with a yellow physical therapy band, according to court testimony. When he passed out, Bricker stabbed him in the chest with his diving knife, gathered his belongings and left, according to testimony.

... (originally) police and an autopsy ruled Curran's death a suicide. They didn't learn the truth until about a year later, when the Naval Criminal Investigative Service led them to Bricker.

Police initially charged Bricker with second-degree murder, but prosecutors agreed to amend the charge to voluntary manslaughter if he pleaded guilty, which he did in April.

Bricker's attorney, Suzanne Moushegian, said Bricker made a mistake but received no benefit from Curran's death. He refused Curran's offer to pay him $5,000, she said. He lost his job with the Navy.
Judge Thomas Padrick
An article written by Rebecca Ruiz and published on NBC news reported Judge Thomas Padrick stating to Bricker:
“You allowed the chief to do what he did, and then you stabbed him. No one has the right to take another’s life," 
The Virginian Pilot concluded the article by reporting the comments of Dawn Curran, Gerard's wife:
Bricker should have reported the death request.
"That's what a real friend would do," she said, reading from a statement and crying. "I find assisted suicide the equivalent to murder."
Judge Thomas Padrick got it right by stating: "No one has the right to take another’s life."

Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide grants - in law - the right of one person, the right, to cause the death of another person.

The only way to protect vulnerable and depressed people, such as Curran, is by maintaining a complete prohibition on euthanasia and assisted suicide. Most people experience a period of extreme grief in their life, but suicide or assisted suicide is not the answer.

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