SAN DIEGO – A 92-year-old woman who sold $40 kits for people to kill themselves faces sentencing in San Diego for failing to file federal tax returns.
Sharlotte Hydorn faces a maximum term of one year in prison when she is sentenced Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard Skomal.
Both the prosecution and defense agree she should be spared prison and sentenced to five years' probation.
But prosecutors recommend that Hydorn be ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution to the IRS, a charge that the defense is asking she also be spared.
The retired school teacher told authorities she knew the helium kits were intended to be used to commit suicide but she said she thought they would be used by the terminally ill.
She pleaded guilty to the tax charge, but under an agreement with prosecutors she will not be in charged in state court with involvement in six suicides.
The Spokane, Wash, native began assisting physicians with patient suicides after her husband, Rex, died of colon cancer, said Charles Goldberg, her attorney. Her husband was in "agonizing pain" and did not want to die "filled with tubes in a hospital."