Monday, May 7, 2012

Woman who sold suicide kits pleads guilty for failing to file taxes.

Suicide Bag

Sharlotte Hydorn, the 92-year-old woman who sold suicide kits, faces sentencing in San Diego for failing to file federal tax returns. Hydorn sold the kits under the name "GLADD Group." In court, she admitted she made $66,717 in 2010 and paid no taxes on that.

An article from the Associated Press reported:
She pleaded guilty to the tax charge but, under an agreement with prosecutors, she will not be charged in state court with involvement in six suicides. 
Hydorn faces a maximum term of one year in prison when she is sentenced Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard Skomal. 
Both the prosecution and defense agree she should be spared prison and sentenced to five years' probation. 
But prosecutors recommend that Hydorn be ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution to the IRS, a charge that the defense is asking she also be spared. 
Prosecutors said she took no steps to verify the physical condition, age, identity or mental state of her customers and therefore had no idea whether her kits were being bought by people suffering from depression or by minors acting without the consent of an adult. Court documents say she sold more than 1,300 kits to people across the United States and abroad. Most of them contacted her by mail or phone. 
Hydorn's kits included tubing, material for the hood and a user diagram. A needed helium source was not included. 
Investigators determined that the kits were sold to at least 50 people in San Diego County since 2007 and that four of those people last year used the kits to commit suicide. None was terminally ill, according to investigators.

An article in the Los Angeles Times stated:
As part of the bargain, Hydorn has promised not to sell any more of her kits. 
According to court documents, Hydorn is supported by numerous relatives of the terminally ill who were helped to relieve their suffering. But others denounce her for selling the kits through the mail indiscriminately, including to teenagers and others who were not terminally ill. 
A 19-year-old killed himself with one of Hydorn’s kits, according to court documents. “We lost our child forever,” his parents responded when contacted by federal authorities. “If it wasn’t for this kit, our child would have been alive.”
Nick Klonski
Another death that caused a wide-spread reaction was the death of Oregon resident Nick Klonski (29) who lived with chronic depression and died by suicide after ordering a suicide kit from Hydoorn and the GLADD group. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed a bill into law that prohibits the distribution of suicide kits in Oregon, which is one of two states that has legalized assisted suicide.

It should be noted that the reason so many people knew about the GLADD Group suicide kits is that they were promoted by the listserve and website operated by Derek Humphry, the founder of the Hemlock Society, a group that amalgamated with Compassion & Choices a few years ago.

Whether or not justice has been done. Hydorn will not continue to sell the suicide bags and others have got the message that aiding, encouraging and counseling suicide is a crime that causes the death of vulnerable people.

1 comment:

Divas said...

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