NJ woman killed herself … but now this man is charged with manslaughter
PARAMUS — A man has been charged with manslaughter by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, after allegedly supplying a woman who took her own life with a gun on Saturday.
The charge may be unprecedented in New Jersey, a legal expert told New Jersey 101.5.
Prosecutor Mark Musella said Kenneth Pinte, 21, of Paramus provided the gun that Faith Youngling, 19, used to take her own life in the basement of her home. The shotgun had been purchased illegally, according to Musella.
Pinte was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree reckless manslaughter, one count of hindering apprehension and one count of unlawful purchase of a firearm.
Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said in his 30 years in law he has not seen a case charged like this.
"Recklessness (an aspect of a manslaughter charge) is defined as a conscious disregard for a known risk that would cause bodily injury or death. I have not seen it in New Jersey but I have seen a case recently in Massachusetts where they argued that another person's actions caused another person to commit suicide," which led to a successful prosecution, Bianchi said.
The case he referenced went to the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Michelle Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail after she was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter for using text messages and phone calls to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, him to kill himself in 2014. Carter's lawyers maintain her texts were free speech and have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn't yet decided whether it will take up the case.
Bianchi said there are many details about the Paramus incident not yet known to the public — for instance, whether the discharge of the weapon could have been accidental.
"Just giving someone who may have suicidal tendencies a weapon may be a difficult case to prove in New Jersey under the recklessness standard," Bianchi said. "But if there's any facts or information that they have that would suggest he did this for the purpose of assisting and aiding in that suicide, and it was reasonable that there would be a connection between him giving her that weapon and her killing herself, it would be in line with that other case."
Pinte was remanded to the Bergen County Jail pending a first appearance.
If you feel you or someone you know may be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, or the NJ Hopeline, 1-855-654-6735.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report
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