William P. PickardDid you know that aiding someone’s attempt to commit suicide

William P. PickardDid you know that aiding someone’s attempt to commit suicide is a felony? It’s true! Just ask Melvin Alephus Gillespie. He’s in jail for it.The Spokesman-Review

reports today that Gillespie has been charged with obstructing a public officer and promoting a suicide attempt. The charges stem from the death of William P. Pickard, who was found in Spokane under the Sunset Bridge on June 30 last year with a rope nearby that turned out to be a prop in a half-assed attempt to make the death appear to be a murder. Police say that before the suicide, Gillespie tied Pickard up, rummaged through his car to make it look ransacked, then drove the vehicle four miles away and left it. The reason for faking the cause of death was apparently because Pickard’s insurance policy wouldn’t pay out if it became known that he killed himself. Also before the suicide, Pickard wrote a note and gave it to Gillespie, telling him to keep it secret, except in the event that police became suspicious and tried to blame him with the staged “homicide.”Though he wasn’t an official suspect in any murder, police were always suspicious of Gillespie because he’d changed his story with regard to the last time he’d seen Pickard alive.And at the man’s funeral, Gillespie apparently talked about “feeling guilty” several times. “Melvin admitted all of his lies, which he admitted hindered our investigation and cost the police department and the State of Washington tens of thousands of dollars,” according to court documents.Spokane County officials say they can’t recall anyone ever being charged for promoting a suicide. The law states “A person is guilty of promoting a suicide attempt when he knowingly causes or aids another person to attempt suicide.” It’s a class C felony and punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.