There is an interesting case out of Miami where Valerie Jenkins, 56, has been charged with manslaughter after she allegedly handed her husband the gun with which he committed suicide. Robert Jenkins, 51, told her that he wanted to die and, when she threw him the gun, he proceeded to make good on the threat.
She told police that she was fed up with her husband’s threats and reportedly threw him the pistol in exasperation. He then shot himself.
The question is, if this account is true, would it constitute a crime. There is a 9-11 call where Valerie Jenkins reportedly told the operator “he had never actually asked her for it while they were arguing.”
The prosecutors have waited over two years to bring the charges — perhaps a reflection of the uncertainty of such charges. A wife could have legitimately believed that she was going to “call his bluff” and force him to come to grips with his conduct. He presumably could have retrieved the gun himself at any time. It was kept in their bedroom dresser and she took it out and removed it from its zipper bag. It is hard to see where the line is drawn here. What if she did not retrieve the gun but instead encouraged him verbally to do it and end his bickering? They had been married for two years and continually fought with each other, according to published reports. Presumably, words alone could not sustain such a charge. In this case, she added the action of retrieving the gun but it was her husband who elected to use it.
What do you think?