[StBernard] Murder mystery
Westley at da-parish.com
Sun Oct 4 21:24:35 EDT 2009
For those who have served on jury...this one is something to think about.
Just when you think you have heard everything!! Do you like to read a good
murder mystery? Not even Law and Order would attempt to capture this mess.
This is an unbelievable twist of fate!!!
At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, (AAFS)
President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal
complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:
On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and
concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped
from the top of a 10-story building intending to commit suicide. He left a
note to the effect indicating his despondency.
As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast
passing through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter
nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below
the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus
would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.
The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied
by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was
threatening her with a shotgun! The man was so upset that when he pulled the
trigger, he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the
window, striking Mr. 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 the murder charge, the old man and his wife were both
adamant, and both said that they thought the shotgun was not loaded. The old
man said it was a long- standing habit to threaten his wife with the
unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore, the killing
of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been
The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's
son loading the shotgun about 6 weeks prior to the fatal accident. 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.
Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder
even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of
murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
Now for the exquisite twist... Further investigation revealed that the son
was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the
failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump
off the 10 story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun
blast passing through the ninth story window. The son, Ronald Opus, had
actually murdered himself. So the medical examiner closed the case as a
suicide. A true story from Associated Press.
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