Suicide Group May Have Helped 130 Kill Selves

Four members face charges in Georgia
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2009 7:20 PM CST
This photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department shows Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert, 81. He is one of the four members of Final Exit charged with aiding a suicide.   (AP Photo/Baltimore Police Department)
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(Newser) – A group that helps people commit suicide with helium gas may have had a role in more than 130 deaths, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. That revelation surfaced in a court document related to the arrest yesterday of four members of the Final Exit group. The four suspects, two from Georgia and two from Maryland, are charged with assisting the suicide of a 58-year-old cancer victim.

"We're just there to help," one of the group's leaders told the AP. "People insist upon it. They want to do what they want to do. They're suffering, and if they have intolerable pain, then they want to sometimes get out of that intolerable pain." The group says it guides people in donning a special hood to inhale helium, a tactic that makes the suffocation look like natural causes.