Teen Charged With Assisted Suicide

Annapolis, MD -- A 16-year-old who watched his troubled girlfriend shoot herself to death as part of an apparent suicide pact has become the first person charged under Maryland's new assisted suicide law.

The teen, whose identity was not released, was charged Tuesday as a juvenile.

Kristen Riggin, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, said the boy provided the .38-caliber handgun that Jennifer Garvey, 15, used to kill herself on Oct. 18. The gun had been stolen from the boy's stepfather, Riggin said.

Only Oregon allows assisted suicides. Maryland's law, which took effect Oct. 1, was aimed at preventing assisted suicides. Under the law, anyone who provides the physical means another person uses to end his or her life faces up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The charges are a highly unusual application of the assisted suicide law, said Faye Girsch, president of the Denver-based Hemlock Society, which advocates assisted suicide.

The couple, who had been dating for less than five months, left a note to their family and friends in Jennifer's handwriting. It read, in part: "You've kept us apart and hurt us with your insensitivity. Now we can be together."

Jennifer, who was being treated for depression, went through with the pact. The boy ran to a nearby friend's home.

Correspondence between the two and published in The Washington Post revealed that they were swept up in a teen-age romance with a darker side. In notes to Jennifer, the boy detailed his past history of drug use, self-mutilation and arrests.

Jennifer's family and friends believe that the boy held sway over the impressionable girl.

"She was scared to death to break up with him," Tim Ford, an 18-year-old student at Anne Arundel High School told the Post.

Source: Associated Press, February 29, 2000. Provided by the Pro-Life Infonet, a daily compilation of pro-life news and information. To subscribe, send the message "subscribe" to: infonet- request@prolifeinfo.org. Infonet is sponsored by Women and Children First (http://www.prolifeinfo.org/wcf). For more pro-life info visit http://www.prolifeinfo.org and for questions or additional information email ertelt@prolifeinfo.org

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