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Woman Accused Of Helping WWII Vet Die Pleads Ignorance

Elizabeth Barrett said she didn't know medication would kill elderly Laguna Niguel man.

The Laguna Woods woman accused of helping an elderly Laguna Niguel man commit suicide is "entirely innocent of any crime," her attorney told Patch today.

Elizabeth Barrett, 66, who was charged Wednesday with helping Jack Koency, 86, kill himself by providing him with a lethal dose of Oxycontin, "never heard from the victim that he wanted to die," her attorney, David Borsari, said.

Barrett faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted. She posted bail late Wednesday; her arraignment is set April 15.

Borsari said his client was "just helping an elderly friend by administering his medication -- medication that was routine and prescribed by his doctor. If he did want to die, he never shared that with Elizabeth."

Read more: Victim is called "good-natured."

An autopsy revealed that Koency died from the combined effects of the drugs Oxycodone, fluoxetine and alprazolam, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Borsari said his client met Koency about six years ago and that they would get together in small groups for coffee and conversation. He said there was no romantic link, that his client told him they were "strictly platonic."

Barrett, who is now back at her home, "had a stressful week," Borsari said, adding that his client was just diagnosed with breast cancer.

"She is a law-abiding citizen who has never committed a felony or a misdemeanor, or even had a speeding ticket to my knowledge," he said. "It doesn’t make sense that she would start a criminal career now, let alone an assisted suicide."

Borsari said he had prepared Barrett for the possibility that she would be charged.

"A few months ago, there was a search warrant executed and officials did search her home," he said. "She knew that she was a suspect and we did offer to surrender, but they showed up Wednesday morning."

He said his client was "freaked out" by the search.

"She had the highest regard for the victim and has always said that he was a good friend and a patriot," Borsari said. 

In the course of its investigation, authorities discovered a motion-activated camera. Barrett is accused of being seen on the video crushing the medication, mixing it in yogurt and giving it to Koency. She then removed from his wall the medals he had earned while serving in World War II.

When asked about the missing medals and the camera surveillance that captured his client removing them, as well as mixing the cocktail, Borsari said: "There is a logical reason and explanation for that, but I cannot comment at this point. All I can say is if she was planning this, wouldn’t she be crushing medicine away from the camera?"

Barton Mac Leod March 30, 2012 at 01:17 AM
On our door step. Court coverage will go on for the next 12 months ...
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) March 30, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Be great if the court was still in Laguna Niguel

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