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Woman arrested in assisted suicide of WWII veteran via oxycontin-laced yogurt

Doug Wheller/Flickr Creative Commons

A woman is charged in the assisted suicide of WWII veteran Jack Koency, after allegedly serving the 86-year-old man a lethal dose of oxycontin crushed and mixed into yogurt.

Elizabeth Barrett, arrested Wednesday and currently held on $25,000 bail, faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted, says the Orange County D.A.'s office.

She has no history of criminal activity, according to the homicide prosecutor, who told the OC Register the woman has never even had a traffic ticket.

Koency, who was living in Laguna Niguel at the time of his death, was not terminally ill, bedridden, or immobile, say officials. The two had been acquaintances for several years, but had not been in recent contact. They reportedly reconnected about a week before he died.

The veteran, who reportedly sent a letter to the California DMV shortly before his death to say thanks for giving him "the privilege of driving," had been "depressed, lonely and paranoid," says the OC Register.

He reportedly told friends and acquaintances that he needed help to die, including Barrett, who was part of a seniors group that would meet casually at a Laguna Niguel Starbucks.

On the morning of September 30, Barrett allegedly drove Koency to make funeral arrangements, bought supplies, took him home, prepared and served the lethal dose, took his WWII medals after he died, then waited to call 911 and reported that she had found the man dead.

OC Sheriff's Department officials discovered footage of Barrett on a motion-activated camera in the course of their investigation that shows the woman preparing the deadly concoction.

Notes the OC Register:

[Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim] Baytieh contends that Barrett, who claimed to be a social worker, acted out of an exaggerated sense of self-importance and arrogance, thinking that she knew what was right for Koency.

"Absolutely under no circumstances, does she have a right to assist a man, a flawed man – a man who served his country – commit suicide," Baytieh said. "To me, it’s very offensive; forget about the fact that is also illegal."

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