Entries in Kenneth Minor (2)


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´╗┐


Murder or Assisted Suicide? Death of Motivational Speaker Hits Court

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A bizarre murder trial set to begin Thursday in New York City has the makings of both a good mystery novel and a precedent-setting case on what defines assisted suicide.

On the morning of July 16, 2009, police found the body of Jeffrey Locker, 52, a father of three and a motivational speaker from Long Island, slumped over the steering wheel of his black station wagon.  Locker's hands were tied behind his back, his chest was punctured by multiple stab wounds, and his wallet was missing.

The prime suspect was caught later that day.  Kenneth Minor, 38, an unemployed computer technician and a drug addict with a long criminal history, was seen on video withdrawing $1,000 from several ATMs using Locker's bank card.

When cops caught up with Minor, he told them an incredible story: Locker approached him on a street corner and asked his help to commit suicide.  He promised to give him his ATM card and PIN number as payment for his assistance.

Minor told police Locker drove through the streets of uptown Manhattan looking for someone to "do a Kevorkian," according to court documents and published accounts of a written statement he gave police.

"Locker said it had to look like a robbery so his family can get what they deserve," Minor wrote.

In the year-and-a-half since Minor's arrest, new evidence has emerged suggesting the man is telling the truth and Locker was indeed looking to kill himself.

Locker had made a fortune from his speeches teaching people how to deal with stress, but evidence from the months before his death suggest he was deeply in debt and took out a $4 million life insurance policy on himself for his family.  Minor's lawyer says it is evidence he was planning to kill himself.

The strange tale of how and why Minor agreed to get into Locker's car that morning may be of interest to jurors, but the ultimate question will come down to what he did in the car.  Did he "actively" murder Locker or did he "passively" assist in his suicide?  Minor's defense will turn on that question.

Though state law classifies "causing or aiding" someone in a suicide as manslaughter, Minor is charged with second-degree murder.  Prosecutors argue that murder is murder, even at someone's request.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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