I had to put this up…………
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 accidentally loaded.
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
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.