CPP… denied meds… failed suicide… chg with assisting “self-murder” of girl friend

Palm Coast man charged with ‘assisting self-murder’

http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20170816/palm-coast-man-charged-with-assisting-self-murder

PALM COAST — A Palm Coast man accused of helping his girlfriend kill herself after the couple made a “suicide pact” that led to her death while he survived was arrested Wednesday by Flagler County sheriff’s deputies and charged with “assisting self-murder.”

According to a department spokesperson, Bruce Haughton and his 52-year-old girlfriend, Katherine Goddard, tried to kill themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning on two occasions in June. Goddard died during the second attempt while Haughton survived both attempts.

Haughton, 52, had turned himself in to Flagler deputies Monday on charges tied to an unrelated case of criminal mischief, court records show. He was released from jail on that charge Tuesday before officers re-arrested him Wednesday on the new charge, according to booking records. He is being held without bail at the Flagler County jail, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Assisting self-murder is a second-degree felony manslaughter charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to state statutes.

Investigators allege Goddard and Haughton made a pact to kill themselves when they stopped using prescription pain medication, and they tried to do so on June 29 and 30. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brittany Kershaw indicated Haughton planned the attempts, placing duct tape around the garage door of Goddard’s Red Clover Lane home in Palm Coast and affixing a dryer vent to the exhaust pipe of a vehicle in an attempt to fill the car with carbon monoxide.

Kershaw said the vehicle’s battery died on the couple’s first attempt, so they bought sleeping aids that night and tried again the following day.

Goddard’s daughter came home from work and found the couple unresponsive inside the vehicle June 30 and called 9-1-1.

“I just got home and I just found my mom and my step-dad in the garage, in the car,” she said, “and I don’t know if the car’s been on or what but … he’s barely breathing and I can’t get a pulse off of her.”

In the call, as the 9-1-1 operator asked her if she thought it was intentional, the

daughter found and read a note.

“Due to the pain we are both in and can’t get help, this is the only way we can see getting out of it. Goodbye to everybody,” she read.

 

Goddard was dead by the time deputies arrived and Haughton was transported to Florida Hospital Flagler, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Haughton had 3 percent blood-level of carboxyhemoglobin, or COHb, at the time, according to investigators, who noted that Haughton is a smoker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that COHb levels must be elevated to at least 9 percent to warrant a carbon monoxide poisoning diagnosis for smokers.

Sheriff Rick Staly said Haughton’s blood levels of COHb were much lower than Goddard’s. Kershaw said Goddard was also a smoker. She didn’t know Goddard’s exact COHb level but said it was “very high” and her body already showed signs of rigor mortis, while Haughton was still breathing when deputies arrived.

Staly said those types of discrepancies aroused the suspicions of investigators, who presented their evidence to the State Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors determined the assisted self-murder charge was most appropriate.

“There were a lot of unusual circumstances in this case, but the state felt that that was the appropriate charge,” Staly said. “There’s insufficient evidence to charge him with murder. Although there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that would indicate this case is more than the charge.”

 

One Response

  1. “Investigators allege Goddard and Haughton made a pact to kill themselves when they stopped using prescription pain medication”

    No, most likely, they were forced off their prescription pain medication and could not take the constant, non-stop, life-long physical agony any longer. We will continue to see more and more of this.

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