In a potentially unprecedented move for the state, a Minnesota man is being charged with murder for allegedly driving his partner to suicide. According to the Olmsted County Attorney, Long Vang and Jessica Haban were together for 10 years. During that time, Haban was subject to increasing levels of domestic violence. She was thrown into a wall by her hair and had a knife held to her throat, the Huffington Post reports. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Vang allegedly knocked Haban unconscious multiple times and poured vegetable oil on her because she "had bad in her." In May 2015, Vang allegedly punched Haban in the head, causing a traumatic brain injury, which led to depression. Despite a court order, Vang repeatedly called and texted Haban. She told a social worker she felt like Vang had killed her.
Haban sought mental health treatment, but Vang threatened her, telling her she would lose custody of their two kids if she didn't stop getting medical care. Three days after leaving treatment in December 2015, Haban killed herself. She was 28. Vang was arrested this month and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The county attorney believes Haban killed herself to escape Vang. It's extremely rare to be charged with murder for someone else's suicide. In what is called a "depraved heart murder," prosecutors must prove Vang "did something that was very likely to kill" while displaying "complete disregard for human life," HuffPo explains. The county attorney believes they can do so. Haban's mother tells the Star Tribune the charges mean "there is finally going to be some justice for Jessica."