Saturday, August 29, 2009
In re Estate of Kissinger, 206 P.3d 665 (Wash. 2009): Charged with first degree murder for the slaying of his mother, step-brother, and his mother’s boyfriend, the defendant in In re Estate of Kissinger was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The mother’s estate received a wrongful death recovery and began a proceeding to determine statutory beneficiaries and argued that defendant was a “slayer” under Washington’s slayer statute. In In re Estate of Kissinger, a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Washington held that the defendant was disqualified under the statute which applies to anyone participating in a “wilful and unlawful” killing. The standard to be used is civil not criminal; “wilful” therefore is to be taken in its everyday meaning and the verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity did not make an unlawful killing lawful.