It happens too frequently that law enforcement officers call 911 to say their wife has shot herself - and almost always they are believed. Why? Deputy Britton is indicted for helping his wife commit suicide by allegedly leaving the gun on the bed and telling her to do it. That's what he said happened, and so that is what he is held accountable for.
Was the home fully processed as a potential crime scene?
I'm not accusing because I wasn't there, but in hosting this blog I tire of the way the deaths of officer's wives and girlfriends are handled. There is a dismal and disturbing pattern of treating these fatalities completely differently than if a non-officer had called and reported a violent shooting death in their household.
And I wince reading Deputy Britton's attorney attesting to Christine having been suicidal before.
Christine can't speak for herself.
Is that information from his client
CATCHING UP - EXCERPTS FROM OCT 30 NEWS BELOW.
...Mickey Weber, a lawyer representing Charlotte and Charles Hitner, Christine Britton’s parents, said the family was glad to see the indictment and believes it’s in the interest of justice that John Britton be held accountable in his wife’s death. Weber said he plans to file a $700,000 wrongful death lawsuit soon... Stan Faith, [John] Britton’s attorney said, “He certainly did not want his wife to commit suicide and that’s what the government has to prove. He was in love with his wife; still is”... The couple argued frequently, Faith said, and Christine Britton had threatened suicide before... Faith said his client has been living AND WORKING in Georgia for several months since his suspension from the Harrison County Police Department and the decision by the county commissioners to withhold his pay. The judge also issued a protective order against Britton prohibiting him from having any contact with any of Christine Britton’s family members...
Video: Deputy Britton indicted for wife Christine's suicide (Attorney says you can't prove it)
- [IN] The at-home shooting death of Harrison County Jail Cmdr. Christine Britton to be reviewed by the Grand Jury - A Harrison County grand jury is expected to be convened soon to review the circumstances surrounding the death of former county jail commander Christine Britton... Her estranged husband, county police officer John Britton, was present at the time...
- [IN] Pending - Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Behalf of the Estate of Harrison County Jail Commander Christine Britton - ...Greg Clark, an attorney representing Christine Britton's family, confirmed the notice was filed yesterday (Sept. 17) on behalf of the estate of Christine Britton. Britton allegedly shot herself...
- [IN] Sheriff's Officer John Britton put on leave after family of Jail Commander Christine Britton file wrongful death lawsuit - ..."This is on behalf of (Christine's) daughter and not the family trying to make a dollar. Chrissie was the primary parent in the child's life, and now she's gone," Clark said. "The only heir to this, by law, is the daughter, and John. Our argument is that he won't be able to take over the estate because he contributed to the death of Christine"...
HARRISON COUNTY DEPUTY TURNS SELF IN: John Britton Facing Charges Of Assisting Wife's Suicide
October 30, 2010
A Harrison County Sheriff's deputy facing charges has turned himself in to police. A grand jury indicted John Britton on criminal charges of assisting a suicide in the death of his wife. Christine Britton was a former jail commander in Harrison County. She was found dead from a gunshot wound in her home in March of 2009. In a police interview, Britton said they were arguing moments before the shooting. He said he tried to stop her from committing suicide but then told officers he left his handgun on the bed and walked out. Moments later, he said he heard the gunshot. [LINK]
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY INDICTED IN WIFE'S SUICIDE - Police: Man Provided Gun To Suicidal Wife
October 29, 2010
[Excerpts] ...Investigators said the couple had been involved in a domestic situation that day and that John Britton made available the gun his wife used to kill herself... A special prosecutor convened a grand jury in the case in August. Members on Thursday handed down an indictment against John Britton on a felony count of assisting a suicide. John Britton turned himself in during an initial hearing on Friday. The newspaper reported that John Britton has been suspended from the department... [Full article here]
GRAND JURY INDICTS HUSBAND OF FORMER HARRISON JAIL COMMANDER WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE
By Ben Zion Hershberg
October 29, 2010
[Excerpts] ...If found guilty, [Harrison County police officer John] Britton would face two to eight years in prison. A trial date was set for Feb. 15. The indictment was issued by a six-member panel requested by special prosecutor Nancy Jacobs. The charge was filed in Harrison County Superior Court... Stan Faith, Britton’s lawyer, said, “I was very much hoping he wouldn’t be charged.” Faith said there’s no evidence his client intentionally provided his wife with a gun to kill herself, a requirement for finding him guilty. “It’s very, very sad. It’s a tragedy,” Faith said of Christine Britton’s suicide. Charging her husband makes the situation even more tragic, he said... For a variety of reasons, a grand jury can be called to decide whether a suspect should be charged rather than having a prosecutor decide, Jacobs said. Those include the potential of using a rarely-invoked statute or to help analyze the facts of a case, among others. Jacobs declined to say why she used a grand jury in the Britton case... Faith said he doesn’t believe the charge applies to his client because the prosecutor will have to prove that Christine Britton intended to commit suicide and that John Britton intended to help her do that. The couple argued frequently, Faith said, and Christine Britton had threatened suicide before... Faith said his client has been living and working in Georgia for several months since his suspension from the Harrison County Police Department and the decision by the county commissioners to withhold his pay. Mickey Weber, a lawyer representing Charlotte and Charles Hitner, Christine Britton’s parents, said the family was glad to see the indictment and believes it’s in the interest of justice that John Britton be held accountable in his wife’s death. Weber said he plans to file a $700,000 wrongful death lawsuit soon against Britton and the Harrison County sheriff, for whom he worked. That is the maximum allowable under state law from a government agency. Britton turned himself in at the Harrison County Justice Center about 3 p.m. Friday. Superior Court Judge Roger Davis set a $20,000 bond, and Britton posted the $2,000 cash required for release. Davis entered a not guilty plea for Britton... [Full article here]
FORMER HARRISON COUNTY OFFICER, JOHN BRITTON, OUT OF JAIL FRIDAY AFTER INDICTMENT
by Melanie Kahn
October 30, 2010
Harrison County police officer John Britton is out of jail on bond, after he was indicted on charges he helped his wife commit suicide. Some of the evidence: a 911 call he made to dispatchers; dispatchers who worked with him and Christine Britton, who was a jail commander. Christine Britton was expected to be a witness in the case against Sheriff Mike Deatrick who was accused of harassment at the jail. The grand jury started investigating John Britton just weeks after another grand jury indicted Sheriff Deatrick. When police and EMS arrived at the home of John and Christine Britton the night he made the frantic 911 call, Christine Britton was dead. Jerry Goodin, Indiana State Police said, “John Britton made a fatal mistake that night; he allowed a handgun, or allowed access to a handgun, that was later used in the taking of a human life”... John Britton: “My wife just shot herself. I need an ambulance at my address right now”... Stan Faith, Britton’s attorney said, “He certainly did not want his wife to commit suicide and that’s what the government has to prove. He was in love with his wife; still is.” The judge also issued a protective order against Britton prohibiting him from having any contact with any of Christine Britton’s family members. In addition, the judge ordered Britton to turn over any firearms and anything belonging to the county. [Full article here]
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