Assisted suicide charge dropped for nurse who gave her dad morphine

Feb. 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM
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POTTSVILLE, Pa., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed a charge that a nurse helped her dying father take his own life by handing him a bottle of morphine.

Barbara Mancini, 58, was arrested in February 2013 on an assisted suicide charge. Judge Jacqueline Russell ruled Tuesday that prosecutors were relying on "speculation" in their case against her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"A jury may not receive a case where it must rely on conjecture to reach a verdict," Russell said.

Joseph Yourshaw, 93, of Pottsville, Pa., died on Feb. 11, 2013, four days after taking a large dose of morphine. A hospice nurse who came to his home the day he took the drug and found him unconscious and called police.

Prosecutors said Mancini pressured the hospice into prescribing the morphine and then gave her father a large bottle with enough morphine for 40 days in it. Mancini allegedly asked the hospice nurse for more morphine, enough to kill her father.

Yourshaw, who was terminally ill and in considerable pain, had reportedly told his daughter he wanted to die at home.

Joe Mancini said his wife learned the charge had been dropped Tuesday afternoon by going on the Schuylkill County court website. He said Barbara, suspended from her job as a nurse at a Philadelphia hospital and barred by a gag order from talking about the case in public, had gotten into the habit of spending time on line every day looking for new developments.

A paramedic for Philadelphia, Mancini said he was asleep after working a night shift when he was awakened by his wife's screams.

"I went downstairs and Barb was hugging our daughter, Maria, crying," he said. "She couldn't even speak, she was just so overwhelmed. She gave me her computer. I saw the judge had placed the order, dismissing the case."

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