Friday, September 18, 2015

Kansas murder trial, defense claims it was assisted suicide (Day 4).

Alex Schadenberg
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

This week I wrote about the first day of the Heskett murder trial and the second day and yesterday I wrote about the third day of the trial in Eudora Kansas. The trial will continue on Monday.

The trial concerns the death of Vance Moulton (65), who was living with cerebral palsy. Moulton was allegedly murdered by Ronald Eugene Heskett (49), who was his care-giver. Heskett has been charged with first-degree murder, but he claims that the death was an assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide is when someone assists the suicide death that is carried our by the person who died. It can be done in many ways. Euthanasia is a form of homicide (murder) that is done when one person directly and intentionally causes the death of another person.

Ronald Eugene Heskett
The fourth day of the trial focused on the discussion between Heskett and fellow care-giver Scott Criqui. The Lawrence Journal-World news reported that:

Heskett called Criqui a short time later to report that he’d found Moulton in his apartment with a towel around his neck, dead of an apparent suicide by asphyxiation.  
... During Heskett’s short visit at Trinity, Heskett told Criqui that Moulton was suicidal, Criqui said. 
“(Heskett) brought up in a humorous fashion that Van wanted Ron to shoot him,” Criqui testified. 
Criqui said that he had never before heard of Moulton having suicidal tendencies, and if he had, appropriate action would be taken to have Moulton assessed for mental health issues. In a recorded police interview shown to jurors earlier this week, Heskett was seen telling investigators that he had told Criqui prior to Sept. 12, 2014, of Moulton’s suicidal comments. 
Criqui said he grew concerned hearing the light-hearted mention of Moulton’s suicidal comments,
The Lawrence Journal-world news continue by reporting on the prosecutions claim that Heskett killed Moulton based on financial gain. The article states:
In the police video shown Thursday, Heskett told police that the $13,000 was once kept in Moulton’s safety deposit box at Bank of America, but was later moved to a dresser drawer in Moulton’s apartment. 
On Friday, Detective Lance Flachsbarth testified that after Heskett mentioned the dresser drawer, Flachsbarth searched the entire apartment but did not find the cash. 
Tonganoxie carpenter Brian Johnson also testified Friday, saying that he had sold Heskett a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle worth $4,900 in late May 2014. Heskett paid cash for the car, Johnson said. 
It was later discovered Heskett “fudged” the purchase price on the car title Johnson gave him. Heskett allegedly put down the price as less than $2,000 — the same amount Heskett told investigators in the video Thursday that he paid for the car. 
Jeff Wolff of Wolff Diagnostic & Automotive in Eudora testified after Johnson, saying that Heskett paid him about $1,884 for work on the Chevelle in June. But this wasn’t necessarily out of the ordinary, as Wolff also said that Heskett had paid nearly $600 in cash in January for work on two pick-up trucks. 
Retired FBI agent and forensic accountant Randall Wolverton testified that Heskett’s bank account records indicate that Heskett maintained a relatively low balance in his checking account for much of its use from June 2013 through September 2014, even being overdrawn by $1 to $5 on several occasions. 
But there was one inconsistency that prosecutors highlighted. Wolverton told jurors that there was an out-of-the-ordinary deposit of $2,000 in June 2014. 
Defense attorney Mike Warner noted, however, that Wolverton could not know the origin of that $2,000, nor did Wolverton know if Heskett was “squirreling away” cash at his home to make the deposit.
If the content in this article is causing you to have suicidal thoughts contact Your Life Counts.

I am interested in this story because Heskett says that the death was an assisted suicide. I am not stating that this didn't occur, but it is possible to cause death and claim assisted suicide as a defense. Further coverage of the case tomorrow.

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