PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla, – A husband and wife, married since 1979, struggled with her suicidal tendencies for several years. She is now deceased and he is a suspect for committing “Assisting self-murder”.
According to a Pinellas County search warrant, it was April 11, 2021, when Detective Jerald Creaser was called out to Lake Seminole Square and its independent living facility. The senior community is located at 8333 Seminole Boulevard.
The search warrant states that two staff members had gone to Joyce Ann Chance and Manuell Chance’s apartment to conduct a welfare check, as the couple had not followed the normal morning routine to press a button to indicate that all was well.
When they entered the Chances’ apartment, the staff found the couple’s identification cards and a “Do Not Resuscitate” order on the kitchen counter.
The staffers found Joyce Ann Chance, 81, unresponsive in bed and Manuell Chance, 81, talking on the phone with one of his children.
According to documents, Manuell told one of the staffers that Joyce took Klonopin and wanted to die, and when she began breathing heavily, he began to choke her. But he said the choking failed, so he took an ice pick and stabbed her with it.
Manuell admitted that he overdosed on Klonopin as well.
An ice pick was seen in plain view on top of a dresser, and a knife was found on the living room couch.
Joyce had three puncture wounds to the left side of her torso, one of which penetrated her chest cavity and caused a pneumothorax, causing air leakage into the space between the lungs and chest wall.
The couple was transported to Largo Medical Center and listed in “critical but stable” condition until Joyce died on April 20 at Suncoast Hospice of Mid-Pinellas.
Deputies performed a search of the apartment and removed a blanket, bed sheets, an ice pick, knife, video footage, photos, electronic devices, and prescription medicine.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office could not comment on this case which would be charged as manslaughter under Florida law.
As of April 30, Manuell Chance had not been arrested, and could not be reached by phone for comment.
Joyce Ann Chance’s obituary indicates she had a plot in the veterans section of Florida Hills Memorial Gardens in Spring Hill but that she wished for her ashes to be scattered in The Gulf of Mexico.
According to WebMD, a small number of people experience side effects to include depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, and suicidal tendencies when taking Klonopin.
In Florida Law, Statute 782.08, Assisting self-murder.—Every person deliberately assisting another in the commission of self-murder shall be guilty of manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
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