DA accuses Arizona doctor of helping woman kill herself in Ulster County hotel
The Ulster County district attorney is prosecuting an Arizona doctor, accused of helping a woman commit suicide in an Ulster County hotel.
Stephen Miller, 85, is charged with one count of manslaughter and two counts of assault in what the DA is calling an assisted suicide.
Kingston Police responded Nov. 9 to the Super 8 Hotel on Washington Avenue after the cleaning staff found the woman dead in her room.
DA Emmanuel Nneji said in a press release that investigators later found that Miller had been in the room with the woman before and during her death.
Miller was arrested last month in Arizona, and then came to Kingston to be arraigned on the charges.
He is currently out on bail.
"If we can't resolve his case short of a trial, then yes, we'll go to a trial," Miller's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman said when reached by phone Monday afternoon.
Lichtman said Miller made contact with the woman through an organization that provides support for the terminally ill and promotes legislation to allow safe methods of ending one's life.
Miller's attorney told News 12 the woman reached out to the group because she did not want to die alone, and that sending his client to prison for the rest of his life would be wrong.
"I think this was an unnecessary charge, based on the wishes of a woman who was experiencing debilitating pain for a long time," Lichtman said, "and made the conscious, sober, reasoned decision to end her life."
Lichtman said Miller did not personally administer any drug or treatment, and that Miller was just there to offer support and comfort while the woman ended her life.
The DA was not immediately available Monday to provide comment beyond his press release on the incident.
Legislation setting guidelines for people to self-administer life-ending drugs has been filed again this session in Albany.
It has been proposed several times since 2015.
Primary bill sponsor Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said Monday that this time, the bill has a chance of passing.
It is still unclear if the case involving Miller would have met the strict guidelines set forth in Paulin's legislation.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly linked a national advocacy group to the alleged assisted suicide and Stephen Miller. Miller was not acting on behalf of the group.