Jeffrey Locker was a successful motivational speaker and author living in a beautiful home with three children in an affluent area of Long Island, New York. Life was going well for him, until the market crashed in 2008, and a year later, he decided that he needed to do the unthinkable to help and provide for his family: hire someone to assist him with his own murder to allow his family to cash in on his death with an $18 million life insurance payout.
Being from a suburban well-to-do area and a self-help author made the known candidates eligible to carry out this self-solicited hit a little slim. So one evening after dark, Locker drove his Dodge Magnum into a well-known dangerous place in Harlem to look for his own killer.
He found Kenneth Minor on the street and asked him how he could obtain a gun. When Minor asked what it was for, he replied with, I want you to shoot me. He wanted his death to look like a robbery gone terribly wrong, because his insurance would surely pay out on a murder, but not a suicide. Locker told Minor he could could cash in on his death by using his ATM card. To a 36-year-old ex-con in Harlem, this didnt seem like a bad idea in the beginning. After thinking about it Minor said there was no way he was going to assist a businessman in his own suicide.
Locker then began to go into detail about his current financial situation, and how he was convinced that planning his own murder was the only way to save his family from bankruptcy, lawsuits, and many years of financial hell. Could Minor have felt pity for this family man and thus agreed to it?
Minor knew that he was going to have to pay for what he was going to do, he said in his first public interview, because he did agree to assist a man in his own suicide. A payout in the form of an ATM card with $1000 cash would be the instant gratification for his actions, no matter how grave. So they began to plan Lockers staged murder with his family evidently aware (and accepting) of his plan to save them from financial turmoil.
First, Locker advised Minor to choke him with a cord while he sat in the drivers seat of his car outside of a housing project in Harlem. The cord kept snapping when Minor tried to follow Lockers instructions. Locker then pulled out a knife and told Minor to hold it against the steering wheel while he proceeded to lunge into it to pierce his vital organs while his hands were tied behind his back. When his body was later discovered inside his car, police obtained surveillance footage from an ATM where Minor was seen using Lockers card after the killing.
When Minor was arrested and asked to tell his side of the story, it was almost laughable to police and more importantly, unbelievable. Prosecutors claimed that he was a cold-blooded killer-for-hire while Minor stuck to his story, as crazy as it may have sounded to the courtroom. Second degree murder or assisted suicide was what the jury had to debate and they came back with the verdict of guilty of second degree murder. Minor was sentenced with 20 years to life in 2011.
In October 2013, an appeals court ruled that the judge in the trial had misinterpreted the law regarding assisted suicide, and therefore gave the jury confusing instructions. It was determined that Minor deserved a new trial. The DA hopes the grand jury will return an indictment for manslaughter, or a plea to serve a sentence of four to eight years.
The retrial is scheduled to begin in February 2014.
If you were on this jury, how would you vote? Is Kenneth Minor guilty or just in the wrong place at the wrong time?Tags: appeal, appeal attorneys, appeal lawyers, appeal lawyers federal, appealattorney
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