At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Assoc...
At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for

Forensic Science, AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience

in San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the

story.



On 23 March 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and

concluded that he died from a shotgun wound of the head. The decedent had

jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide

(he left a note indicating his despondency). As he fell past the ninth

floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which

killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that

a safety net had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some

window washers and that Opus would not have been able to complete his

suicide anyway because of this.



Ordinarily, a person who sets out to commit suicide ultimately succeeds,

even though the mechanism might not be what he intended.



That Opus was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below probably

would not have changed his mode of death from suicide to homicide. But the

fact that his suicidal intent would not have been successful caused the

medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands.



The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied

by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing and he was threatening

her with the shotgun. He was so upset that, when he pulled the trigger, he

completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window

striking Opus.



When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one

is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with this charge,

the old man and his wife were both adamant that neither knew that the

shotgun was loaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to

threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder

her; therefore, the killing of Opus appeared to be an accident. That is,

the gun had been accidentally loaded.



The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's

son loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal

incident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial

support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the

shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father

would shoot his mother.



The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of

Ronald Opus.



There was an exquisite twist.



Further investigation revealed that the son [Ronald Opus] had become

increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his

mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March

23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a ninth story window.



The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.


Back | Next


More Pages of Jokes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 
49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 
97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 
121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 
145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 
169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 
193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 
217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 
241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253