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Old 03-16-04, 07:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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tempting 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 ten-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.
>
> "Ordinarily," Dr Mills continued, "A person who sets out to commit
> suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not
be
> what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide." That Mr
Opus
> was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have
been
> successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to
> feel
> that he had a homicide on his hands.
>
> 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 unloaded.
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,
> if
> the gun had been accidentally loaded. The continuing investigation
> turned
> up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about
six
> 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 his mother.
>
> 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 comes 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 ten story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by
a
> shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had
> actually
> murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a
suicide.
>
>
> (A story from Associated Press, Reported by Kurt Westervelt)
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Old 03-16-04, 10:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always loved that one. The Saga of Ronald Opus lives on ... and on... and on... ...
It's such a good story it even made it to an episode of Law & Order, some Australian TV show and I think a movie was based on it or featured it prominently.
The originator of that story probably never dreamed of how popular it would get
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Old 03-16-04, 11:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow what a story! I had never heard that one before..but its interesting.....and god damn CRAZY!

What are the odds of jumping off a building and being SHOT on the way down with the shooter having no intention to fire it at the person?
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Old 03-16-04, 11:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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wow thats CRAZY! what a coincidence.
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Old 03-16-04, 11:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Smile tempting fate

i love that story. i believe it apearred in slightly altered form in the movie Magnolia with Tom Cruise. a wierd but cool movie BTW
~jessi
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Old 03-16-04, 11:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow! What are the odds? Thanks for the story Sheila!
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