Sharlotte Hydorn, the 92-year-old woman who sold suicide kits, faces
sentencing in San Diego for failing to file federal tax returns. Hydorn sold the kits under the name “GLADD Group.” In court, she admitted she made $66,717 in 2010 and paid no taxes on that.
An article from the Associated Press reported:
She pleaded guilty to the tax charge but, under an agreement with
prosecutors, she will not be charged in state court with involvement in
Hydorn faces a maximum term of one year in prison when she
is sentenced Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard Skomal.
Both the prosecution and defense agree she should be spared prison and sentenced to five years’ probation.
But prosecutors recommend that Hydorn be ordered to pay more than
$25,000 in restitution to the IRS, a charge that the defense is asking
she also be spared.
Prosecutors said she took no steps to verify the physical condition,
age, identity or mental state of her customers and therefore had no idea
whether her kits were being bought by people suffering from depression
or by minors acting without the consent of an adult. Court documents say
she sold more than 1,300 kits to people across the United States and
abroad. Most of them contacted her by mail or phone.
Hydorn’s kits included tubing, material for the hood and a user diagram. A needed helium source was not included.
Investigators determined that the kits were sold to at least 50
people in San Diego County since 2007 and that four of those people last
year used the kits to commit suicide. None was terminally ill,
according to investigators.
An article in the Los Angeles Times stated:
As part of the bargain, Hydorn has promised not to sell any more of her kits.
According to court documents, Hydorn is supported by numerous
relatives of the terminally ill who were helped to relieve
their suffering. But others denounce her for selling the kits through
the mail indiscriminately, including to teenagers and others who were
not terminally ill.
A 19-year-old killed himself with one of Hydorn’s kits, according to
court documents. “We lost our child forever,” his parents responded when
contacted by federal authorities. “If it wasn’t for this kit, our child
would have been alive.”
Another death that caused a wide-spread reaction was the death of
who lived with chronic depression and died by suicide after ordering a suicide kit from Hydoorn and the GLADD group. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed a bill into law that prohibits the distribution of suicide kits in Oregon, which is one of two states that has legalized assisted suicide.
It should be noted that the reason so many people knew about the GLADD Group suicide kits is that they were promoted by the listserve and website operated by Derek Humphry, the founder of the Hemlock Society, a group that amalgamated with Compassion & Choices a few years ago.
Whether or not justice has been done. Hydorn will not continue to sell the suicide bags and others have got the message that aiding, encouraging and counseling suicide is a crime that causes the death of vulnerable people.