SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A lawmaker in Utah has proposed a bill that would classify assisted suicide as manslaughter after an 18-year-old allegedly coaxed a 16-year-old girl to kill herself and then recorded her as she died.
Tyerell Przybycien has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Jchandra Brown after being accused of transporting the girl to her place of death and tying a noose so she could hang herself. His attorneys claim that Brown is solely responsible for her own death as Przybycien did not physically kill her.
“An act or conduct that ’causes’ the death is required in all cases: something like pulling the trigger on a gun, driving recklessly, etc.,” defense attorney Greg Stewart told CNN. “Tyerell picked Ms. Brown up from work when she called and asked for his help, drove her to stores to purchase rope and compressed air for inhaling, and helped her to tie a noose and build a pedestal to stand on. None of these actions directly ’caused’ the death of Ms. Brown.”
“Her putting the noose around her neck, stepping onto the pedestal and inhaling the compressed air so she passed out and slipped from the pedestal caused her death,” he argued.
According to the outlet, Przybycien also encouraged the girl to go through with committing suicide and provided commentary as he filmed her dying with his cell phone.
Court documents state that investigators were able to recover texts that Przybycien sent to a friend that outlined that he had learned the girl was suicidal, but instead of talking her out of it, he thought it would be “awesome” to help her die.
“What do you do if you knew a friend was trying to commit suicide?” he wrote.
“Talk them out of it,” the friend replied.
“The thing is…I wanna help kill them. It be awesome (sic),” Przybycien texted. “Seriously, I’m going to help her. It’s like getting away with murder! I’m so [expletive] up. I’m seriously not joking. It’s going down in about a week or two.”
The day after Brown died, a hunter found her body in Maple Lake Campground and called 911. Przybycien then approached the police that arrived on the scene and advised that he had been with Brown when she committed suicide. Officials state that after being taken into custody, he remarked that he felt guilty for his role in the teen’s death, but said that it was also part of his “plan.”
According to reports, Przybycien had returned to the campground as he wanted to keep the noose for “sentimental value.”
Because Utah does not have a law surrounding those who assist another in committing suicide, first-degree murder was the only charge that prosecutors could file. Therefore, Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, is proposing that a bill that would classify assisted suicide as a second-degree felony under the state’s manslaughter statutes.
“I view it as murder, no question,” he told Fox13 News. “But we need a tool in which we can charge somebody and the charge will actually stick.”
McKell said that he fears that if the act is not solidly criminalized, it could result in copycat situations.
“There’s more circumstances where teens get more depressed and bullied, and this can easily trigger others to assist,” he outlined. “This bill will hopefully turn people away from that.”
If McKell’s bill becomes law, it would be applied retroactively to Przybycien’s behavior.
Judge James Brady ordered Przybycien to stand trial in October, concluding that he should indeed be held responsible for Brown’s death.
“Because it is reasonable to infer that but for Defendant’s actions the decedent would not have died on May 5, 2017, the State has met its burden to show probable cause that Defendant was the proximate cause of the decedent’s death to bind over the case for trial,” he concluded.
Przybycien is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 2.
As previously reported, in June, Michelle Carter, now 20, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter after she urged her boyfriend Conrad Roy III, 18, to kill himself in the midst of his battle with depression. He died in 2014 in a Massachusetts Kmart parking lot after she allegedly told him to get back in his truck where he was to die of carbon monoxide poisoning.