Monday, October 1, 2012
As I have previously discussed, the district attorney's office has accused a lawyer who specializes in end-of-life issues from Missouri, Susan Van Note, of not only shooting her father and his girlfriend but also forging the document that might have otherwise provided him with life saving medication. Now, attorneys are in the process of sorting out this rather unique murder case. What makes this case so unique is that this is not murder within a traditional sense. Instead, what we have here is "death by forgery."
In this case, Van Note's father was not killed as the result of the gunshot wound but because his doctors did not provide him with life-sustaining medication. In essence, the district attorney is trying to convict Van Note of felony murder. She is currently in jail and has a $1 million bond. The district attorney has charged her officially with forgery and first-degree murder with her father's death but not the death of his girlfriend. The prosecution has also stated that Van Note received help from her friend and her husband, Stacey and Desre Dory. The couple has plead not guilty to felony forgery counts and second-degree murder. According to the prosecution, the Dory's witnessed the signing of the forged copy of Mr. Van Note's durable power of attorney. Upon his death, Susan would likely received the bulk of Mr. Van Note's estate.
See Alan Scher Zagier, Mo. Lawyer Accused of Forgery in Father's Death, Associated Press, Boston.com, Sept. 29, 2012.
Special thanks to Craig M. Scalise (Author of the blog myestateplanningattorney.com) for bringing this article to my attention.