By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
After two days of hearings and three hours of deliberation, a jury in Nebraska found Matthew Stubbendieck guilty of assisting the suicide of his girlfriend Alicia Wilemon-Sullivan in August 2017.
According to Paul Hammel, reporting for the Omaha World Herald:
Wilemon-Sullivan, a divorced mother of four, had texted her boyfriend photos of supposed cancer surgery scars and claimed she had tried radiation treatments that were unsuccessful.
Stubbendieck, admitted that Wilemon-Sullivan was coming to Nebraska to take her life, and he helped her find a secluded spot.
Hammel’s account suggested that jurors felt sorry for Stubbendieck,
But juror Amanda Phillipson of Plattsmouth, whose own father died of cancer, said jurors set emotions and talk of manipulation aside and focused on the state law against assisting in suicide.
Shirley Wilemon, the mother of the deceased, said that Stubbendieck should be punished. According to Hammel, Shirley Wilemon stated
“If you love someone, you don’t just sit there and let them die,”
“He could have saved my daughter, and he chose to leave her out there.”
Cass County Attorney Colin Palm told jurors in closing arguments last Friday that
Stubbendieck had multiple chances to thwart his troubled girlfriend’s death wish, but didn’t. He said Stubbendieck ignored warnings that what he was doing was “legally wrong.”
“He said he didn’t care, he would do that time,” Palm said. “He wanted to help her die. He did help her die.”
Wilemon-Sullivan may have been dying of cancer, but that does not justify abandoning someone to their suicidal ideation.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.