Monday, May 18, 2009

Four people charged with manslaughter in connection with the assisted suicide of Phoenix woman

The Boston Herald (see also Phoenix New Times) reports that four members of the Final Exit Network have been arrested in connection with the assisted suicide of 58-year-old Jana Van Voorhis. According to the report, Ms Van Voorhis was not terminally ill at the time of her death, but had a long history of mental illness and depression. Ms Van Voohis was found dead in her Phoenix (AZ) home on April 15, 2007. An autopsy showed she died of helium asphyxiation. An excerpt from the article:

Four people have been indicted in connection with the assisted suicide of a Phoenix woman.

According to a document from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Frank Langsner and Wye Hale-Rowe were indicted Thursday on charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit manslaughter while Dr. Larry Egbert and Roberta Massey were also indicted for conspiracy to commit manslaughter.

Authorities said the four were part of a right to die organization called Final Exit Network, which is currently under investigation by the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and police agencies in Arizona and seven other states.

The County Attorney’s Office believes Jana Van Voorhis placed a plastic hood over her head that was hooked up to helium tanks in April 2007.

Prosecutors accuse Langsner and Hale-Rowe of showing Van Voorhis how to use the hood and tank while Egbert and Massey’s involvement was through their work in processing applicants to the organization, which is suspected of assisting other suicides in Arizona.

The story in full is here. See also this post by Stephen Drake over at Not Dead Yet.