Friday, August 2, 2013

Judge upholds count of assisted suicide

POTTSVILLE, Pa. - A judge on Thursday upheld charges against a Philadelphia woman accused of helping her 93-year-old father commit suicide through a morphine overdose at his home here, where he was in hospice.

Prosecutors in Schuylkill County charged Barbara Mancini, 57, with aiding suicide. The judge refused to drop the charges after a preliminary hearing.

Pottsville police say Mancini handed Joseph Yourshaw a bottle of liquid morphine at his home in February, leading to his death four days later. The death certificate, which listed the immediate cause as "morphine toxicity" that complicated high blood pressure and heart disease, was issued in June.

Mancini, who was trained as a nurse, remains free on bail. Her lawyer could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. The local district attorney's office asked the state to prosecute the case due to a conflict of interest.

An end-of-life advocacy group called for the charges to be dropped, saying the U.S. Supreme Court allows dying patients to receive adequate pain relief, even if it hastens their death. "Attorney General [Kathleen] Kane should leave Barbara and her family alone so they can grieve over their loss," Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Denver-based Compassion and Choices, said in a statement.*

*Compassion & Choices is the former Hemlock Society.  To learn more about C & C, read:  and Theresa Schrempp, Esq.,  "Compassion & Choices is a Successor to the Hemlock Society" and Senator Jennifer Fielder on Compassion & Choices: "Beware of Vultures." 

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