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Friday
Oct152010

Suicide Pact Gone Wrong: Nebraska Woman Charged

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PLATTE COUNTY, Neb.) -- In a suicide pact gone wrong, a couple mixed a bottle of vodka with an array of pills, but one died and the other lived.

Now, Jennifer Peters, 34, has been charged with a felony for assisting the suicide of her boyfriend, Kyle Adams, also 34.

Platte County authorities said this is the first time one partner in a double-suicide had been charged with the other's death, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

"I can't say that I've had direct involvement in that kind of transaction before," prosecutor Carl Hart Jr. told the newspaper.

Peters was charged under a 1977 state law that prohibits aiding in another person's suicide. It is punishable by a maximum five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

The pair were taken to Columbus Community Hospital, where Adams was declared dead from a drug overdose, but Peters was revived, according to local reports.

Several bottles of over-the-counter allergy drugs and prescription antidepressants were found at the scene.

In an interview with authorities, Peters said she was fighting thoughts of suicide when she bought the drugs and vodka. When she asked her boyfriend if he wanted to kill himself, Peters said he "hemmed and hawed" but then said yes.

Suicide pacts are more common among the elderly, according to experts.

Just last year in Britain, a terminally ill doctor survived a suicide pact that killed his wife because a bag he used to suffocate himself with was too small.

Dr. William Stanton, 79, and his wife of 52 years, Angela, 74, both pulled bags over their heads while lying in bed together. He was initially charged with murder but died of cancer before the case was resolved. The couple had been happily married for 52 years, said his children.

Experts on aging say that couples make the choice to kill themselves for a variety of reasons: illness, economics, isolation, guilt over being a burden, but also as an act of devotion.

"It is actually an act of love," said Washington, D.C., psychologist Doree Lynn. "There is some disagreement, and some say it's an act of despair, but when a couple has been together for a very long time and they are simply care-taking each other, wondering what has become of their lives, they do this as an act of sharing 'until death do us part.' It's almost never spur of the moment." 

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