- An 18-year-old Utah man is facing first-degree murder charges over helping his friend plan and carry out her suicide.
- A judge ruled that Tyerell Przybycien cannot “escape criminal responsibility” merely because his friend was suicidal.
- Przybycien’s lawyers have argued that Jchandra Brown’s suicide was caused by her actions alone, not Przybycien’s.
- The case echoes that of Michelle Carter, the 20-year-old woman recently convicted of involuntary manslaughter for urging her friend to kill himself.
A Utah teenager will stand trial for first-degree murder after he allegedly bought his 16-year-old friend a rope, drove her to a remote location, tied a noose to a tree, and filmed her suicide.
Utah County district court Judge James Brady ruled that it was “reasonable to infer” that 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien intended to cause the death of his friend, Jchandra Brown. Were it not for Przybycien’s actions, Brady said, Brown would still be alive.
Brady wrote in a 16-page ruling that Przybycien cannot “escape criminal responsibility” merely because Brown was suicidal, and that his involvement “meets the elements of murder.”
“Encouraging and helping to facilitate the suicide of an impressionable minor who could have benefited from support, counseling or therapy is completely lacking of social value,” Brady wrote.
Przybycien is also charged with failure to report a dead body, a third-degree felony, the Daily Herald reported.
Prosecutors alleged in court documents that Przybycien picked up Brown from work on May 5, bought her a rope and industrial-strength aerosol air duster, and drove her to Maple Lake, south of Provo, Utah.
Przybycien reportedly told police that once the pair arrived at the scene, he tied the rope to a tree to create a noose, as Brown did not know how to tie one.
He also said that he filmed Brown as she stepped onto a pedestal, inhaled the air duster until she lost consciousness, and then fell off the pedestal, hanging herself. He continued to film her for roughly 10 minutes afterward.
“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,” Przybycien’s attorney Gregory Stewart told the Washington Post. “These intervening acts, we argue, and not Tyerell’s actions, caused her death.”
But Carter’s and Pryzybycien’s cases differ in several key ways. For instance, Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not murder, and Carter had not been physically present when she pressed Roy to kill himself, instead communicating with him solely through texts and phone calls.
But the Carter decision was widely expected to establish precedent in instances where people face criminal charges for instructing others to kill themselves. Many legal experts were shocked by the guilty verdict in her case, and criticized the ruling for essentially determining that Carter’s words were lethal to Roy, rather than his own suicidal actions and intent.