Monday, October 29, 2012

A promise between friends ends in a murder-suicide

(Oct 29, 2012, By Paul Schwartzman Washington post)-- The two men were close friends, dancing at nightclubs, listening to reggae music, talking about their aspirations and, sometimes, their worst fears. If one suffered a life-threatening injury, they promised each other, the other would make sure to disconnect him from any machine keeping him alive. Neither man would allow the other to suffer.

In 2006, the year after Mesfin Nega and Shimelis Yegazu made their pact, a group of men attacked Nega outside an Adams Morgan nightclub, breaking his neck and damaging his spinal cord. When he awoke from an induced coma, his breathing made possible by a ventilator, Nega learned that he was a quadriplegic. For six years, Nega and Yegazu did nothing.

Then, three months ago, on Aug. 14, Yegazu fulfilled his promise, D.C. police announced Wednesday. He administered a lethal dose of phenobarbital to his friend in the Columbia Heights rowhouse that Nega, 38, shared with his sister, police said.

Yegazu, 38, who was visiting from his home in Colorado, then took the drug himself. He died five days later. Police have classified the case as a murder-suicide. A police official with knowledge of the investigation said detectives think the two men carried out a long-planned suicide pact, in which one would help the other die and then take his own life. The police official said the men probably swallowed pills that caused their deaths. Read more from Washington Post »

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