Analysis

Nurse faces murder charges for ‘assisted suicide’ on friend depressed over break-up

assisted suicide, euthanasia

A nurse is being charged with murder after prosecutors claim she killed a friend by so-called “assisted suicide” after he became depressed over a break-up. Kristie Jane Koepplin allegedly injected Matthew Peter Solaski with fatal drugs after he asked her to help him die. Solaski was not dying or ill, but was merely distraught.

Solaski’s body was found in a hotel room in April of 2018 in Mission Viejo, California, two months before assisted suicide was reinstated in the state. District Attorney Todd Spitzer claims Koepplin is the one who killed him, and that his death would not fall under the realm of acceptable assisted suicide. “California’s right to die law strictly governs the conditions under which terminally ill adult patients with the capacity to make medical decisions can be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication,” Mr. Spitzer said in a statement. “That was not the case here. It is beyond disturbing that someone who is trained as a nurse to aid the sick and the dying would twist their duty to willingly end the life of another human being.”

READ: Three reasons a Dutch ethicist changed his mind about assisted suicide

Koepplin, however, claims she is innocent. “I don’t believe she acquiesced to any request at all. If you look at the DA’s press statement, there’s a huge leap of faith – and almost nothing till we get to an assisted suicide accusation,” her lawyer, Michael Guisti, said. “In this case, especially since it has that ‘angel of death’ aura around it, people are paying attention, [but] my client just didn’t do this.” He did, however, acknowledge that Solaski was “heartbroken over some other woman” before his death.

Koepplin’s trial is set to begin in January. If she is convicted, she faces 25 years to life in prison.

While assisted suicide in the United States remains only legal — for now — in cases of people who are terminally ill, it has become a free-for-all in Europe. There, people have been euthanized because they are depressed, autistic, are struggling with addiction, disabled, and even just lonely. The so-called “right to die” isn’t an issue of preventing a long, painful death; after all, palliative care can address that. Assisted suicide and euthanasia inevitably turns into an issue of getting rid of people whose lives are deemed no longer worth living.

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