A Texas man is behind bars for assisting the suicide of his wife, whom authorities say was neither sick nor terminally ill.
Mark A. Kelly, 47, called sheriff's deputies Saturday to report the death of his wife Sonia M. Dixon, 49, the Houston Chronicle reports. Dixon wanted to commit suicide because of the couple's dire financial situation, Kelly told deputies.
Dixon apparently died alone while Kelly spent the night at a hotel, the New York Daily News reports. Kelly allegedly admitted to assisting Dixon's suicide, which is explicitly against the law in Texas and in many other states.
"He said he set up equipment for his wife and he left," a sheriff's spokesman told the Chronicle about Mark A. Kelly's assisted suicide arrest. "When he got back, she was deceased. He showed us a suicide note and list of instructions she had left."
Texas law prohibits aiding or attempting to aid another person "to commit or attempt to commit suicide." It doesn't matter if the person is terminally ill or not. To be found guilty, the enabler must have the "intent to promote or assist" the suicide.
Prosecutors will likely try to prove Kelly's intent with his alleged admission to setting up the equipment for his wife's suicide. Kelly also purchased much of the equipment, which included helium tanks, plastic tubes, and a plastic bag, according to the Daily News.
Investigators also found copy of a suicide how-to book called "Final Exit" in the couple's home north of Houston.
Mark A. Kelly, who's been working a fast-food job since he lost his job as a truck driver 15 months ago, could face a two-year prison term if convicted of assisting his wife's suicide. Immigration authorities have also placed a hold on Kelly, a native of the United Kingdom, though it's not entirely clear why.
- Husband charged after allegedly aiding his wife's suicide (Houston's KTRK-TV)
- Is it against the law to help someone else commit suicide? (FindLaw)
- Physician Assisted Suicide - Is Legal Always Right? (FindLaw)
- State Court Strikes Down Georgia Assisted Suicide Law (FindLaw's Decided)