Screwed up Family!

I know I need to give some type of an update.  But, I will have to do that later.  Until then, how about this messed up family!!

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.

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 confronted with this charge, the old man was adamant that he did not know 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 kill her.  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.

There was an exquisite twist.  Further investigation revealed that the son had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother’s death.  This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun through the ninth-story window.

The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Story told at the 1994 annual awards dinner of the American Association for Forensic Science, Don Harper Mills, President of the Association.


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