The investigation continues into a bizarre murder case in which the defendant claims she killed her son as part of a suicide pact.
Court documents show investigators are still piecing together exactly what happened the night Cynthia Gulley was found in with self inflicted stab wounds and the bodies of her adult son and husband. We wanted to know, if Gulley’s account is true, legally, does it have any affect on the case?
For the first time, we’re learning the suicide note recovered from the crime scene has three signatures on it. The signatures are being analyzed to determine if they really belong to Cynthia Gulley, her son, and her husband.
It’s a bizarre case to say the least. In late February, 55-year-old Gulley called 911 and told dispatchers of her suicide pact with her son and husband, claiming her knife wasn’t sharp enough to kill herself. When police entered this home in the desolate desert town of California City, they found Gulley on top of her 35-year-old son, Christian Gulley, who died from stab wounds.
Her husband, 25 years her senior, 80 year old Shelton Patrick was also dead, on a hospital gurney in the living room. He had no signs of trauma and reportedly was a hospice patient. Gulley was found with five superficial stab wounds.
A warrant shows she told hospital staff she drank a bottle of morphine and a bottle of Lorezpam, a sedative used to treat seizures or anxiety prior to surgery. One of the noted side effects are suicidal thoughts.
As of now, Gulley is facing a murder charge for only her son’s death. A warrant shows detectives are searching for evidence they believe will prove that 35-year-old Christian Gulley did not want his mother to kill him. But according to state law, even if he did want her to end his life, it doesn’t change anything.
The lines can be blurry when it comes to prosecuting someone for murder versus assisting suicide. If you help someone carry out of the act-then you’d be charged with aiding a suicide, a felony. But if someone asks you to kill them and you did it, that’s murder.
The only exception is a suicide pact. This is where it gets a bit complex. The suicide pact exception applies only if there is a single means of death that creates an equal risk of dying both people-such as driving a car over a cliff.
Depending on the results of her husband’s autopsy, Cynthia Gulley could be charged with 2 counts of 1st degree murder. If she were instead charged with aiding suicide, she’d face up to 3 years behind bars versus 25 years to life for murder.