Megan Barry graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in Silverado, New Mexico, on May 29, 2010. She was 17 years old, and an active and successful student who had received a scholarship to Stanford University. Barry was also seven months pregnant, and was expected to give birth at the end of July 2010. It was her intent to give the child up for adoption.
Following the graduation ceremony on May 29, Barry attended a party that evening at the home of another 2010 BFHS graduate, Blake Colvin. Unbeknownst to Ms. Colvin’s parents, a keg of beer and some cases of bottled beer had been hidden in a storage building behind their house. Several of the guests, including Barry, visited the storage building during the party to partake of the alcohol.
During the party, some of the graduates, including Barry, decided to drive to the Grand Canyon in Arizona to watch the sunrise. At approximately 10:30 PM, Barry left Silverado alone in her sports utility vehicle, a 2005 Zuisu Gazelle, driving west on I-29, where the speed limit varied, depending on location, between 65 mph and 75 mph. A little more than an hour later, approaching Rye, New Mexico, and still on the interstate, Barry lost control of the vehicle, struck the guardrail, and rolled over.
Lt. Marty Pacheco, who had been proceeding east on I-29 but had turned around to follow Barry after she had passed him, driving, according to her/his testimony, erratically and at a high rate of speed, was first to arrive at the scene of the accident. S/He administered a field sobriety test, which Barry failed, and three breathalyzer tests with results of .04, .07 and .08.
Barry was transported by ambulance to New Mexico College Hospital, where her baby was delivered by e mergency cesarean section at about 5:30 AM on May 30, 2010. The 4½ pound boy, Baby Doe, died two days later. Cytogenetic testing confirmed that he had been born with Trisomy 13, a chromosomal disorder that causes severe mental retardation, physical abnormalities and, often, death.
Barry has been charged by the Rye County District Attorney with Homicide by Vehicle in the death of her son. At trial, the prosecution will call Frances/Francis Baykon, a friend of Barry’s who will testify that Barry drank alcohol at the graduation party; Lt. Pacheco, who will testify that Barry’s intoxication and recklessness caused the accident; and, Dr. Dakota Griffin, who will testify that the accident caused the death of Baby Doe.
The defense will call the defendant’s sister/brother, Logan Barry, who will testify that Barry was not impaired when she left Silverado; Dr. Madison James, who will testify that the accident was not caused by Barry’s drinking but by the instability of the vehicle she was driving; and, Dr. Taylor McGraw, who will testify that Baby Doe’s death was not caused by the accident but by his birth defect. REQUEST THIS CASE
Written by Michelle Giger, Karl Johnson, Esq., and H. Nicole Werkmeister, Esq.
Thanks to Darryl Cordle, Esq., Jessica Hass, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Neil Schamban, MD
Steve Cole, a retired businessman, committed suicide in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the assistance of his physician, Dr. Chris Jenkins, a local oncologist. Two months later, a grand jury indicted Dr. Jenkins for coercing or exerting undue influence on his patient to request medication for the purpose of ending his life, a first degree felony under the New Mexico Death with Dignity Act.
During a routine physical examination, Mr. Cole was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder. Upon the recommendation of his daughter/son, Alex, Mr. Cole sought treatment from Dr. Jenkins, whom Alex had known since college. Dr. Jenkins’ examination revealed that Mr. Cole’s cancer was in an advanced state, and that he was unlikely to survive for six months. Mr. Cole nevertheless began chemo- and radiotherapy, and Alex returned home from the East Coast to be with him. By the first part of May, although the patient was experiencing great pain from the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of the therapy, Dr. Jenkins found that the cancer had begun to respond to treatment. In her/his opinion, the disease remained incurable and irreversible, but s/he could no longer reliably predict how much longer Mr. Cole might live.
On May 29, however, Mr. Cole asked Dr. Jenkins to prescribe medication to end his life. Dr. Jenkins referred Mr. Cole to Dr. Kim Sikora, Chief of Oncology at Albuquerque’s Providence Hospital, who confirmed Dr. Jenkins’ diagnosis and her/his opinion that Mr. Cole’s request for physician assisted suicide was a voluntary and informed decision. On June 9, Dr. Jenkins prescribed a lethal dose of morphine elixir for Mr. Cole. Two days later, Dr. Jenkins dispensed the medication to Mr. Cole at his home, and s/he was with him when he died from an overdose of morphine.
Approximately two weeks later, Mr. Cole’s friend and neighbor, Pat Bordick, went to the police with certain evidence, including Mr. Cole’s journal, which in Ms/r. Bordick’s opinion indicated that Mr. Cole had been coerced or influenced by others in his decision to commit suicide. Following an investigation, Dr. Jenkins was indicted.
Both the prosecution and defense are ready to proceed in the matter of State of New Mexico vs. Chris Jenkins, MD. REQUEST THIS CASE
Written by Beth Brown and Brendan Sanchez, Albuquerque Academy
Adapted by Michelle Giger and Karl Johnson, Esq., Center for Civic Values
Thanks to Barbara McAneny, MD, New Mexico Cancer Center