The bizarre death of Ronald Opus-Fiction!

The Man Who Jumped To His Death, but Was Shot on the Way Down-Fiction!



Summary of eRumor:

It is said that Dr. Don Harper Mills, the president of The American Academy of Forensic Sciences, told this story at the group’s annual awards dinner in 1994. It was about the death of Ronald Opus who had decided to commit suicide by jumping from the top of a ten-story building.  He didn’t know that a safety net had been strung below the eighth floor by some construction workers and that would have saved his life.  As Mr. Opus feel past the ninth floor, however, he was hit in the head by a shotgun blast and killed.  The coroner wanted to decide who was responsible, and this was his line of reasoning:

1.  The shot that killed Ronald Opus was from a shotgun being used by a man arguing with his wife.  He pulled the trigger, missed his wife, and shot Ronald Opus as he fell past his window.
2.  The man who shot the gun said he didn’t know it was loaded and that when he got mad, he threatened his wife with an unloaded gun.  Therefore, according to the coroner, he was not guilty of murder.
3.  The couple’s son had been seen loading the shotgun.  
4.  That son was Ronald Opus who knew that his father threatened his mom with the unloaded shotgun so planned on his mom being shot.  He was mad at her for cutting himself off financially.  
5.  Therefore, according to the coroner, Ronald Opus was guilty of having arranged for a murder, which turned out to be his own, so he was guilty of murdering himself.  The case was closed as a suicide.


The Truth:

The story is false.  No such incident has ever been reported.  Most importantly, however, Dr. Don Harper Mills says he did tell the story at the 1994 dinner and that he made it up about 10-years earlier..  It was intended to be something humorous and absurd but started being circulated as true.

Posted 07/06/07