[delete this- Prompt: "Take a stance on a controversial issue in current society. Persuade your reader to agree with your perspective. It is fine to include your own opinions, but make sure to back up everything you say with credible sources."]
In August 9, 1967, Robert Waskins, a twenty-three-year-old college student, killed his mother by shooting her three times in the head. When the police arrived and advised him of his rights to silence, he simply replied: "It's obvious. I killed her." He was arrested and charged with murder.
Waskins' mother had been suffering from leukemia. She had at the most several more days to live. She was, however, in extreme pain and wanted to die. In fact she had begged her son to kill her. Three days previously, she had tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. Both her husband and the doctors witnessed to the fact that she was in deep pain at the time she was shot.
The case went to court. The letter of the law had little to offer Waskins. Motive, however benevolent, is no defense in cases of mercy killing. Motive can influence the judge in sentencing, but the most lenient sentence in Waskins' case would be fourteen years in prison with no hope of probation.
On January 24, 1969, a jury deliberated for only forty minutes and with instant psychoanalysis found Waskins not guilty by reason of insanity. They further found that he was no longer insane and he was released. There is no psychiatric evidence that Waskins was ever insane, but thus the case was resolved.
In a famous case in New Hampshire in 1950, Dr. Herman Sander was charged with the murder of a cancer-stricken patient. Dr. Sander had given the patient ten cc.s of air...