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“Causing Suicide” Law to be Tested in Indiana

Posted on by Townsend Myers

Sabrina Howard

A 16 year old commits suicide — but can his mother be charged for causing it?

This tragic question has been raised in a recent case in Indiana. Sabrina Howard of Muncie, Indiana was arrested this week on preliminary charges of causing the suicide of her son Charles, who died of a drug overdose. How could this be?

According to court documents, the young man did it because he lived in constant fear that his mother would be the one to die of a drug overdose.

It’s a sad story. Read more about it in the Huffington Post.

Relatives came forward and told police that Charles “was in great duress.” He had confronted his mother about for her heroin addition many times. Earlier this year, he had even threatened to kill himself and despite his obvious trauma, the mother had not sought medical treatment or counseling services for him then.

And this past July, when 30 Xanax and 26 Lortabs went missing from her stash, she knew her son had taken them. But rather than calling an ambulance, she let him sleep on the couch. That’s where he died.

So for the first time in memorable history in Indiana, a person may be tried for causing suicide. (Prosecutors are still trying to decide how to proceed.) There is actually a law on the books in Indiana for such a crime, and applies to “a person who intentionally causes another human being, by force, duress, or deception, to commit suicide.”

Will the prosecutors be able to prove that Sabrina Howard, herself a troubled drug addict, ¬†intentionally caused her son’s death? It’s a terrible accusation, but one that will be very hard to prove in my opinion.



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