True Story ?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by impycornet, Sep 23, 2005.


Do you think this is a true story or not...? (no cheating)

  1. Yes, I think this is true

    7 vote(s)
  2. No, I don't think it is true

    5 vote(s)
  3. Hmmm... I have no idea either way sorry!!

    2 vote(s)
  1. impycornet

    impycornet Member

    In 1994 at the annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science,AAFS.

    The President Dr Don Harter Mills astounded his audience with legal complications of a bizarre death.

    On March 23, 1994 a medical officer examined the body of Ronald Opus.

    He concluded that Mr Opus had died as a result of a shotgun wound to the head.

    Mr Opus had jumped from the top of a ten story building intending to commit suicide. He had left a note to this effect indicating his despondency.

    As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly.

    Neither the shooter nor the the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

    Ordinarily a person who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide.

    The fact that Mr Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands.

    The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast eminated, was occupied by an elderly couple.

    They were arguing vigorously and the husband was threatening the wife with a shotgun. The husband was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Mr Opus in the head, on his way down.

    When one intends to kill a subject "A" but kills subject "B' by mistake one is guilty of murder of subject "B"

    When confronted with the charge of murder the old man and his wife were adamant and both said that they thought the gun was unloaded.

    The old man explained that it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with an un-loaded shotgun during the course of their arguments. He had no intention to murder her.

    Therefore the killing of Mr Opus appeared to be an unfortunate accident; that is, if the gun had been accidently loaded.

    The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the argument and fatal shooting.

    It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his Father would shoot his Mother.

    Since the loader of the gun, was aware of this, he was guilty of murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger.

    The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

    Now comes the exquisit twist.

    Further investigations revealed that the son was in fact, Ronald Opus.

    He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his Mother's murder on March 23rd 1994 he went to the the top of the ten story building and jumped off, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through the ninth story window.

    The son had actually murdered himself.

    A True Story.:eek: :eek:
  2. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    So, what does everyone think about this story then...? Do you think it is true or do you think it is not true...?

    I'll amend the thread to make it a poll and we'll have ourselves an interesting game...;)

    If you feel like it, post your rationale too!
  3. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I've heard the exact same story sometime before, and the fact that the names and details remain the same etc i can only assume it must be true, normally stories like this that are just stories become bent and twisted from the original tale in some way, but this hasn't.
  4. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    So truly amazing not to be untrue :confused:
  5. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    I think it's almost certainly fake - its far too clinically straightforward (despite the unlikeliness of cleanly hitting and killing someone falling past a window), yet provides an excellent illustration of an absurdity of forensic case-law. It's exactly the sort of scenario I would put together when lecturing to students or colleagues on veterinary clinical or forensic cases and I would guess that this too is a constructed case simply to make a string of interesting legal points.

    Cut and paste is a wonderful tool, isn't it !
  6. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    I think it's a fake! My rationale? A little help from Mr. Google and an Urban Legend Reference page! ;)
  7. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah maybe, I still think it's probably true tho. Just a gut feeling.
  8. rutty

    rutty Active Member

    I don't think I'd even need to visit Snopes to determine the Urban Legend stature of this story ;)
  9. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Yup - that's where I went!
  10. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Without searching would say fake - it cannot be "murder" if you have no premeditation i.e. if the old guy shot his son whilst attempting to shot his wife then that would be manslaughter.
  11. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah the legal stuff seems wrong to me. To be convicted (or charged) of murder means it was a premeditated act so he could be guilty of murdering his mother but not himself.

    Also the whole "shot while falling" thing troubles me. Although he had only fell 1 story, falling past a window which is perhaps no bigger than 6' and to be hit in the head would be well, a shot in a million. Or more than a million come to think of it. Theoretically possible of course, but highly unlikely.
  12. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    ... OK Ian, but what if you believe the 'theoretically possible' bit, what of the rest of the tale...? would it stand up in court? Why? or why not?
  13. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Fake. (without looking it up anywhere. ;) ) My rationale is that the pellets from a shotgun spread over distance (depending on a number of factors, type of ammo, barrel length, choke etc.) So, I think that from inside a room, to the falling target would have been of a sufficient distance for only a few number of pellets to hit the head, and therefore unlikely to be fatal.

    Oh and it could have been murder, as an illegal act caused the death. My guess this is an American thing.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2005
  14. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Ok Rapier... nice analysis - you're showing your experience in the Police.

    lets assume the pellets were constrained witin a sphere sufficient enough to kill at whatever distance the gun was allegedly fired from... what then...?

    Am enjoying this...:)
  15. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    That's not fair - the rules were very definitely "No Cheating" - I posted first, then checked Mr Google.
  16. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Ah well, missed that!
  17. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Well the son is still dead. So can't be charged with anything. The father can be charged with various firearm offences with regard to shotgun ownership.
  18. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member America.......I didn't think they have any firearm offences related to shotgun ownership.....
  19. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Oh well, if we're talking American Law. Then I expect the Mother can be charged with 'child' neglect and inciting violence. The father can be charged with discharging a firearm causing endangerment. They'll sue the building owners for not making the roof 'jump' proof. And they'll all be sued by the company that owned the net the son landed in! :D
  20. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    Now your just being silly

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