SANTA ANA - A woman has been charged with illegally assisting an 86-year-old WWII veteran with committing suicide by providing him with a lethal dose of Oxycontin mixed into yogurt. Elizabeth Barrett, 66, Laguna Woods, is charged with one felony count of assisted suicide and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted. Barrett is currently being held on $25,000 bail. Her arraignment date is to be determined.
At the time of the crime, Jack Koency was an 86-year-old WWII veteran who lived in Laguna Niguel. He was not terminally ill, bedridden, or immobile.
The defendant is accused of first meeting Koency a few years ago and the two occasionally met socially at Starbucks as part of a larger group. The two had not had contact for several months and had re-connected approximately a week before Koency's death.
On the morning of Sept. 30, 2011, Barrett is accused of driving Koency to the Neptune Society so that he could make his own funeral arrangements. The defendant is accused of going to a store and purchasing yogurt, a bottle of brandy, and over-the-counter heartburn medication. Heartburn medication is used to prevent acid reflux, which is common when a person takes a large dosage of medication or pills.
Barrett is accused of driving Koency back to his apartment. She is accused of crushing a lethal amount of Oxycontin and mixing it into the yogurt with the intention of assisting Koency in committing suicide. Barrett is accused of giving the Oxycontin-laced yogurt to Koency, who ate it, went into his bedroom, laid down, and died.
After Koency died, Barrett is accused of removing his WWII medals from his wall and putting them in her car. After waiting a while, the defendant is accused of calling 911 to report that she had discovered Koency dead. The Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) responded to the scene and investigated this case.
In the course of their investigation, OCSD discovered a motion-activated camera. The defendant is accused of being seen on the video crushing the medication, mixing it in the yogurt and providing it to Koency, and removing the medals from the wall.
The defendant was arrested this morning, March 28, 2012.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.