British Lung Foundation
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It could only happen in America!

Do you like to read a good murder mystery?

Not even "Midsomer Murders" would attempt to capture this mess. This is an unbelievable twist of fate!!!!

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS President, Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:

On March 23, 1994... The medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus, and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head.

Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide.

He left a note to that effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly.

Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun! The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.

When one intends to kill subject 'A', but kills subject 'B' instead, one is guilty of the murder of subject 'B.'

When confronted with the murder charge, the old man and his wife were both adament, and both said they thought the shotgun was not loaded, the old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her.

Therefore, the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident.. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support, and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Now comes the exquisite twist...

Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-storey building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son, Ronald Opus, had actually murdered himself.

So the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

A true story from Associated Press.

9 Replies

It's actually a fictional story, but very interesting and amusing nonetheless. :)


As a citizen of a country (USA) rife with guns and spousal abuse, I can relate to this story although based on the number of British tv crime shows and mystery novels, one would think Britain is a hotbed of murder. You read about it, we act out. You are the relatively tame East, we still think it's still the Wild West.


But you solve all your crimes - I know, because I watch CSI! ;)


The ironic, British sense of humor. Solve the crime in the USA but don't convict the celebrity and/or rich.


Chuckle, chuckle. Same everywhere. x


Very interesting Wowsa.


Hi Wowsa this beggars belief but you just gotta smile . :) Janexx


I think I saw this plot in one of the CSI or such like tv programmes although it still could be true as I know they do get a lot of storylines from real events. Thank you xx


Forgot to say if it is true a great example of 'poetic justice'


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