I had head this story before and saw an episode that at least mentioned this on
TV show "Law & Order" or "Homicide" . So I decided to see what I could find on
I found this on http://www.snopes.com/ an Urban Legends page.
Origins: This amazing tale appeared on the Internet in August 1994.
both for the entertaining logic problem it presents as well as the morally
surprise ending, even years later it remains a cyber-favorite and continues
forwarded to ever-widening circles of netizens.
A story this good should be true. Alas, it's not. There never was a
Opus, a feuding, shotgun-wielding older couple, or an increasingly confused
medical examiner trying to get to the bottom of things. But there is some
it, for there is a Don Harper Mills, and he did tell this very story at a
the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Here's how Mills explained his involvement with the story in a 1997
I made up the story in 1987 to present at the meeting, for
illustrate how if you alter a few small facts you greatly alter the
consequences. In 1994 someone copied it on to the Internet. I was told
already garnered 200,000 enquiries on the Net. In the past two years
around 400 telephone calls about it - librarians, journalists, law
law professors wanting to incorporate it into text books.
It was hypothetical; just a story made up to illustrate a point. It's hard
anyone at that 1987 meeting took it for anything else.
How did a 1987 illustrative anecdote morph into 1994's believed-to-be-true
We'll likely never know. How did Dr. Mills come to concoct such a tale? As
in a 1997 interview, "Some of it I wrote out, and some of it I invented as
> In a message dated 3/8/00 7:28:55 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> email@example.com writes:
> > Isn't this ironic!
> > At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science. A past
> > president, Dr. Don Harper Mills stounded his audience with the legal
> > complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story: