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Thursday
Mar032011

Man Who Claimed He Assisted a Suicide Convicted of Murder

Photo Coutesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An unemployed drug addict who claimed he was paid to assist a motivational speaker commit suicide was convicted Thursday of murder.

A New York City jury found Kenneth Minor guilty of first degree murder in the death of Jeffrey Locker, a Long Island self-help guru whose business was floundering.

The prosecution conceded that Locker was suicidal and sought out Minor on a Harlem street corner in July 2009.

Minor and the prosecution agreed that Locker asked Minor to make his death look like a robbery so Locker's family would be able to claim a multi-million dollar insurance settlement.

Minor's lawyer told the jury his client simply held a knife against the steering wheel of Locker's station wagon as Locker thrust his chest against the blade to kill himself.

"He was taken advantage of... He's no contract killer," said Minor's lawyer, Daniel Gotlin, in closing arguments. Gotlin said Minor should be acquitted under a state statue that allows an assisted suicide defense in some murder charges.

But the prosecution said Minor killed Locker for money, binding his hands and stabbing the man repeatedly in the chest.

"This was murder for money, not a mercy killing, which is why we prosecuted the case as an intentional murder," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement. "We believe the jurors got it right with their verdict."

Gotlin said he would appeal the jury's verdict.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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