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Suicide Verdict in RCMP Taser Case

Posted Mar 06 2011 11:55am

When RCMP officers were called to a house in Langley, British Columbia on on September 30, 2008,  they found Frank Jonathan Frechette acting in a very bizarre fashion.  Frechette, 49, had jumped naked out of his second-story window as he was bleeding from several self-inflicted wounds.   That same morning, he had robbed a local bank with a wrapped shotgun and had been followed home by a bystander who tipped off police.   When Frechette ignored police orders to lay down on the ground, he was Tasered and subsequently arrested.  According to his common-law wife, he had stabbed himself in the lung with a butcher knife and than "dove head-first out the window like he was going off a diving board".   After being taken into custody and charged with armed robbery, Frechette died that same day at Langley Memorial Hospital due to massive blood loss resulting from his stab wounds.

Following a coroner's inquest, Frechette's death has been ruled a suicide .  In reaching that verdict, the five-person jury examined testimony from the arresting officers as well as the results of Frechette's autopsy.  The presiding coroner, Lisa Graham, had previously reminded the jurors that Frechette had "directed officers to shoot him" when confronted at his home.  Toxicological evidence established that Frechette had been under the influence of heroin at the time which contributed to the behaviour he had displayed that day.  After committting the armed robbery (he stole $3500.00), he returned home where his behaviour became increasingly bizarre culminating in his stabbing.  His common-law stated that she had been unaware of his drug use. 

The jury did not offer recommendations regarding police conduct.   Following the court decision, Jody Pylpow, the estranged mother of Frechette's two children stated that there was no need to Taser him.  "He was not armed, he was nude and he was bleeding. Something could have been done.”

For more information .

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