May 11, 2012
Attorney: State letting pro-suicide grandmother off easy
In one attorney's opinion, an elderly California woman should be prosecuted by the state for selling suicide kits online.
Ninety-one-year-old Sharlotte Hydorn of La Mesa has been sentenced to five years of probation for not filing tax returns. She has also been ordered to stop selling her infamous suicide kits that create a suffocation device that uses helium to take away life. The sentence was part of a plea deal reached with federal prosecutors, but Hydorn was not charged in state court for assisting in six suicides.
The 91-year-old made headlines after selling roughly 1,300 suicide kits priced at $40-$60 online under the name of The Gladd company. Hydorn confessed she generated over $66,000 in income and did not pay taxes. She entered the business after her own husband died a painful death from colon cancer. According to The Huffington Post, she says she is doing what she can "to improve the world."
Dana Cody, president and executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, believes the elderly woman should "absolutely be prosecuted by the state."
"Our culture is so pro-death that I'm finding that people just aren't interested in the assisted suicide issue, which is unfortunate," Cody laments. "But definitely, the state should prosecute her under Penal Code Section 401 for felony counts for assisting in individual suicides to the extent that they have evidence to show that people followed through with it."
California Penal Code Section 401 makes it a felony to deliberately aid another in committing suicide. Investigators say Hydorn's kits were sold to at least 50 individuals in San Diego County and were successfully used by at least four people.
Contact: Becky Yeh