In New Scotland: ‘Everything is pointing to the direction that it was a murder-suicide’

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Albany County sheriff’s deputies and paramedics responded to a 9-1-1 call from 51 Orchard Hill Road in New Scotland early on Monday morning. When they arrived, they found that the home’s 87-year-old occupant had killed his wife and then tried to kill himself, police say. 

NEW SCOTLAND — Basil Boyea, an 87-year-old New Scotland man, on Monday shot and killed his wife, Karen, and then turned the gun on himself, dying later of the self-inflicted wound, police say. 

The results of the autopsy have yet to come back, said Inspector J.T. Campbell of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, “But everything is pointing to the direction that it was a murder-suicide.”

Karen Boyea had serious, ongoing medical issues, Campbell said; she had been in Florida but earlier this month had come back to the area to receive better care. Campbell confirmed what Sheriff Craig Apple had said about the incident: The couple wanted to die together, and that Basil Boyea feared losing his wife. 

Asked if only Basil Boyea didn’t want to be without Karen Boyea, or if it had been a mutual decision to die together, Campbell said that was under investigation. 

The handgun used by Basil Boyea had been registered, Campbell said.

The 9-1-1 call came in at 12:19 a.m. Monday morning and sheriff’s deputies and paramedics responded.

Basil Boyea’s daughter, who lived in the home, “reported hearing gunshots and finding her father and stepmother with gunshot wounds in the family residence,” according to a release from the sheriff’s office. 

 Karen Boyea was dead when deputies found her, the release said; Basil Boyea was transported to Albany Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. 

Richard Lachmann, a University at Albany sociology professor, said that there are a number of factors why people would make the decision to die together. For a couple that has been together for decades, he said, it’s often hard for one of them to envision living on their own. 

In most states, Lachmann said, there aren’t end-of-life provisions in place that allow for doctor-assisted death. That mechanism allows a person to tell a doctor, “We’ve made this decision, this is what we want ... Give us medicine so that we can end our lives,” Lachmann said. “And so, the only way to do that is [the] way that this guy did.”

Eight states currently allow assisted suicide; New York is not one of them.

There’s “enormous opposition” from many established churches to doctor-assisted death, Lachmann said; certainly the Catholic Church has a degree of power in many states able to block a lot of legislation.

Lachmann said that the United States isn’t an outlier when is comes to doctor-assisted suicide; most countries don’t allow it.

“What’s really clear in the research” is that, in most cases, suicide is an impulsive decision, and, “of course,” if the person has a gun, compared to someone who tries to jump off a bridge, for example, then, said Lachmann, there’s really no chance of giving life a second thought. 

More New Scotland News

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