Murder case raises questions: Would Hospice have been better option?

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - He claims he killed his wife out of mercy because she was in pain from cancer.

The Laurel County Sheriff's Office charged Chris Chumbley with murder. This type of case where a defendant claims the killing was done out of love, is rare, and one community outreach program works daily to keep such tragedies from happening.

"To me, the saddest of all possible outcomes," notes Hospice of the Bluegrass CEO Gretchen Brown, "I was so incredibly sad about it because I think so often people in that situation feel so alone."

Brown says many of the patients she helps have cancer, like Chumbley's wife. They help patients and their families through difficult times.

"If only people knew what a difference hospice would make."

Attorneys we reached out to had never heard of a case like Chumbley's taken up in a Kentucky courtroom. Here, causing or assisting a person to commit suicide is a felony. Right now, Chumbley is facing murder.

There are currently three states with legal, assisted suicide laws in the books. Oregon, Vermont, and Washington allow physicians to assist, but patients must go through several steps before obtaining physician help with suicide.

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