Suicide Pact Gone Wrong: Nebraska Woman Charged

Suicide Pacts Growing Trend Among The Elderly

In a suicide pact gone wrong, a couple mixed a bottle of vodka with an array of pills, but one died and the other lived.

Now, Jennifer Peters, 34, has been charged with a felony for assisting the suicide of her boyfriend, Kyle Adams, also 34.

Platte County authorities said this is the first time one partner in a double-suicide had been charged with the other's death, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

"I can't say that I've had direct involvement in that kind of transaction before," prosecutor Carl Hart Jr. told the newspaper.

Photo: Suicide Pacts: Some Say Ultimate Act of Love: Milwaukee Doctor Devoted to Sick Wife Suffocates in Car With Affairs in Order
Wisconsin Couple Die in Suicide Pact

Peters was charged under a 1977 state law that prohibits aiding in another person's suicide. It is punishable by a maximum five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

The pair were taken to Columbus Community Hospital, where Adams was declared dead from a drug overdose, but Peters was revived, according to local reports.

Several bottles of over-the-counter allergy drugs and prescription antidepressants were found at the scene.

In an interview with authorities, Peters said she was fighting thoughts of suicide when she bought the drugs and vodka. When she asked her boyfriend if he wanted to kill himself, Peters said he "hemmed and hawed" but then said yes.

Suicide Pacts More Prevalent Among the Elderly

Suicide pacts are more common among the elderly, according to experts.

Just last year in Britain, a terminally ill doctor survived a suicide pact that killed his wife because a bag he used to suffocate himself with was too small.

Dr. William Stanton, 79, and his wife of 52 years, Angela, 74, both pulled bags over their heads while lying in bed together. He was initially charged with murder but died of cancer before the case was resolved. The couple had been happily married for 52 years, said his children.

Experts on aging say that couples make the choice to kill themselves for a variety of reasons: illness, economics, isolation, guilt over being a burden, but also as an act of devotion.

"It is actually an act of love," said Washington, D.C., psychologist Doree Lynn. "There is some disagreement, and some say it's an act of despair, but when a couple has been together for a very long time and they are simply care-taking each other, wondering what has become of their lives, they do this as an act of sharing 'until death do us part.' It's almost never spur of the moment."

Mary Witte of Milwaukee was shocked last August to find her parents' bodies in their garage surrounded by helium tanks, tubes and plastic garbage bags.

For more than a decade, Dr. Daniel and Katherine Gute, both approaching 80, had been planning their deaths, should one or both of them be forced to live in a nursing home or need extraordinary medical care.

Katherine "Kittie" Gute suffered from the painful condition polymyalgia rheumatica, or PHR, and dementia, and her husband of 53 years was "getting thinner and thinner" taking care of her, according to Witte, 48.

Daniel Gute, a community president, sailor and urologist, had been retired since the age of 62 and was relatively healthy. An environmentalist, his wife was an avid tennis player and golfer.

"We are all absolutely in awe of them making that choice, being so unbelievably brave, dying with his wife of 53 years," said their daughter, 48, who also lives in Milwaukee. "There is no better love story, and they avoided the awful end of life."

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