Quick update via phone from Secret Blog Reporter: They’re adding complicity to murder to the charges, as everyone is pretty sure that Cortez did it. Otherwise, not much to report. Pretty much the same witnesses in the same order as Cortez Oliver. More details later.
UPDATE:: e-portage is doing a really excellent job of covering this, including audio and video testimony, so anything I’d do here would be redundant. Besides, Secret Blog Reporter has to morph into Secret Appliance Repairwoman, and will otherwise be unavailable from Weds. on.
But I have to comment on something the defense brought up, as well as the commentariat at the Record-Courier. This is a particular bugbear of mine, as the groundlings also brought it up concerning the drunk driving death of my mother-in-law.
[William T. Whitaker Jr., defense lawyer] would also claim that the charge does not rise to the level of murder as it was the family’s decision to remove Lowther from the ventilator, weeks after the assault that caused his ultimate demise.
The question is not, “Did he die because he was taken off the respirator?” but “Would he have died if he had never been put on the respirator?” Contrary to what the OBots think, the natural right to life referenced in the Declaration of Independence does not carry with it a corresponding responsibility for somebody else (rights never do) to provide the means of that life, especially when it involves expensive medical equipment and personnel. Indeed, for an old man there are worse things than death; e.g., being a prisoner in your own body. So had Lowther lived, it could be argued that the punishment should have been worse than that for murder. Whitaker’s argument, baldly stated, is “Dukes didn’t murder Lowther; his family did.” (In Ada VanHorn’s case, the argument was made just about that baldly, with money as the motive.) That’s so monstrous that it’s difficult to believe it came out of the mouth of a human being. (Insert lawyer joke here.) . So what happened to a normally-healthy 68 year old to turn him into a quadraplegic who couldn’t breathe? Oliver, Dukes and Fetty. They caused his death, and any intermediate steps are irrelevant.