An Arizona jury on Thursday acquitted a doctor of manslaughter charges in the suicide of a Phoenix woman who authorities say had help killing herself.
Dr. Lawrence Egbert, who also is indicted in Georgia on charges that he helped a man with cancer there kill himself, was one of four people charged by Arizona authorities in Jana Van Voorhis' death. Jurors could not reach a verdict for a co-defendant, Frank Langsner.
Authorities say the four were part of a Georgia-based right-to-die organization called Final Exit Network, which has been investigated by the FBI and authorities in Arizona and seven other states.
Maricopa County prosecutors said the other two defendants in the case _ Wye Hale-Rowe and Roberta Massey _ had pleaded guilty to one count of facilitation to commit manslaughter and agreed to testify in the case.
Authorities believe Van Voorhis placed a plastic hood over her head that was hooked up to helium tanks. She was found dead in her Phoenix home on April 15, 2007.
Prosecutors said Van Voorhis was not terminally ill at the time of her death, but suffered from mental-health issues and depression.
Langsner and Hale-Rowe were accused of showing Van Voorhis how to use the hood and tank. Egbert and Massey's alleged involvement was through their work in processing applications to the organization, which is suspected of assisting other suicides in Arizona.
Although an initial autopsy showed Van Voorhis died of natural causes, another autopsy revealed her death was from helium asphyxiation.
An investigation by Phoenix police uncovered Van Voorhis' involvement with the Final Exit Network.
A May 9 status conference is scheduled for Langsner's retrial.