By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Independent Record in Helena Montana reported today on a case of a woman who killed a man, by strangulation, because he had asked to die.
The woman accused of killing a man in Billings on Tuesday night says she strangled the man because he told her he wanted to die and she had wanted to try killing someone with her "bare hands."
Penelope Strong, Haugen's defense attorney was reported to state:
"We're likely looking at an assisted suicide defense for Ms. Haugen,"
(Lindsay) Haugen ... and (Robert) Mast had been dating since August, and they were traveling from Olympia, Washington, to North Dakota, but had stopped at a Billings Wal-Mart to eat some pizza and drink some wine.
The pair were sitting in the parking lot in Haugen's car when Mast told her he wanted to die.
Haugen said if he was serious, she could make it happen. Mast told Haugen he was serious.
Haugen climbed into the back of the car and put her arm around Mast's neck as he sat in the passenger seat. She described in detail the process of Mast's death to officers and said at one point he began to foam at the mouth. According to charging documents, she said she held his mouth and nose shut for at least 20 minutes.
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I am interested in this story because Mast's lawyer says that she will use assisted suicide as a defense for murder. Assisted suicide is not legal in Montana, but the Montana Supreme Court, in its Baxter decision, gave physicians a defense of consent. When assisted suicide is legalized, defense lawyer's can defend a murder charge by arguing it was an assisted suicide.
I will continue to follow this case.