86-year-old sentenced to 2 days in jail for assisting wife's suicide

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comJanuary 16, 2013 

George Taylor, 86, was formally sentenced in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on Wednesday to two days in jail — time he's already served — and probation for the offense of aiding and abetting a suicide.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

A retired firefighter charged with assisting his wife’s suicide in Los Osos said the couple had long planned to commit suicide at the end of their lives and that it was his wife who decided when to carry out their mutual suicide pact, according to a probation report filed Wednesday.

George Taylor, 86, was formally sentenced in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on Wednesday to two days in jail — time he’s already served — and probation for the offense of aiding and abetting a suicide.

Taylor was arrested Dec. 10 after a state park ranger found him driving in Montaña de Oro State Park with his wife, Gewynn, dead in the back seat. Taylor admitted to helping his wife commit suicide.

Later, he told investigators that he and his wife, married since 1947, had long discussed committing suicide together at a certain point. He also said one of his daughters was aware of their plans, though she did not know where and when it would occur.

Neither of the Taylors had a terminal illness, and they were financially secure, living off investments and George Taylor’s pension as a 26-year firefighter in Los Angeles.

The couple — who had endorsed the philosophy of Dr. Jack Kervorkian, an advocate of physician-assisted suicide — picked out a spot to carry out the pact on Dec. 9 and returned the next day. Taylor assisted his wife’s suicide, using a plastic bag, and attempted to commit suicide himself but wasn’t able to complete the act.

After his arrest, he was ordered to get counseling.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, Taylor’s attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, said his client has since stabilized.

“He’s learning to cope with the trauma,” Funke-Bilu said.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service