United States

Police Charge Man Accused of Assisting Ill Wife Commit Suicide

Prosecutions for assisted suicide in Connecticut are not common

A Westbrook man helped his cancer-stricken wife to die by suicide and now faces manslaughter charges, state police said.

Kevin Conners, 65, told investigators that he held a revolver to the head of his wife, Lori, 62, who pulled the trigger on Sept. 6, according to the arrest warrant.

Conners turned himself in at a state police barracks Thursday and posted $50,000 bail, authorities said. The Associated Press left a phone message at a number listed for his home address.

Conners appeared in court on Friday and his defense attorney said his client was a loving husband whose spouse was "suffering terribly" from cancer. 

On the night his wife died, Conners called 911 and told officers who arrived that he had been woken up by the sound of the gunshot. Questioned further by police he said he had helped his wife because he couldn't watch her suffer any more. He said he held the gun because his wife was worried about flinching when pulling the trigger, according to the warrant.

Lori Conners had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments which, combined with symptoms of Lyme disease, made her very ill and sapped her will to live, police said Kevin Conners told them.

Kevin Conners also told authorities that he and his wife had done research on states where assisted suicide is legal, including Vermont, and considered going there before deciding it wasn't an option because Lori was not a Vermont resident, according to the warrant.

Conners' attorney, Raymond Rigat, said Friday that his client is holding himself accountable and that he was a "kind, compassionate, loving" husband whose wife was "suffering terribly."

Conners and his children told police that Lori Conners told them she wanted to die.

Prosecutions for assisted suicide in Connecticut are not common.

A legislative proposal to allow medical aid in dying was introduced in Connecticut's General Assembly this spring but did not win approval.

Tim Appleton, the eastern field director for the nonprofit Compassion and Choices, said he is hopeful that Connecticut will soon join the other 10 U.S. jurisdictions that allow for aid in dying.

"Mentally capable terminally ill patients in Connecticut should have this option," he said.

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