Bruce Haughton has been charged with “assisting self-murder,” a second-degree felony manslaughter charge in the suicide of Katherine Goddard, his girlfriend
A man in Palm Coast, Florida man has been accused of helping his girlfriend kill herself after the couple made a “suicide pact” that led to her death while he survived was arrested Wednesday and charged with “assisting self-murder.”
Bruce Haughton and his 52-year-old girlfriend, Katherine Goddard, tried to kill themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning on two occasions in June. Goddard died during the second attempt while Haughton survived both attempts, authorities said.
Haughton, 52, had turned himself in to Flagler deputies Monday on charges tied to an unrelated case of criminal mischief. He was released from jail on that charge Tuesday before officers re-arrested him Wednesday on the new charge.
He is being held without bail at the Flagler County jail.
Assisting self-murder is a second-degree felony manslaughter charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to Florida statutes.
Investigators said Goddard and Haughton made a pact to kill themselves when they stopped using prescription pain medication, and they tried to do so on June 29 and 30.
Haughton allegedly planned the attempts, placing duct tape around the garage door of Goddard’s Red Clover Lane home in Palm Coast and affixing a dryer vent to the exhaust pipe of a vehicle in an attempt to fill the car with carbon monoxide.
The vehicle’s battery reportedly died on the couple’s first attempt, so they bought sleeping aids that night and tried again the following day.
Goddard’s daughter came home from work and found the couple unresponsive inside the vehicle June 30 and called 911.
“I just got home and I just found my mom and my step-dad in the garage, in the car,” she said, “and I don’t know if the car’s been on or what but … he’s barely breathing and I can’t get a pulse off of her.”
Katherine Goddard and her boyfriend Bruce Haughton allegedly, tried to kill themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning on two occasions in June. He survived their last attempt, she didn’t
When the emergency operator asked the daughter if she thought it was intentional, she found and read a note.
“Due to the pain we are both in and can’t get help, this is the only way we can see getting out of it. Goodbye to everybody,” she read.
Goddard was dead by the time deputies arrived and Haughton was transported to Florida Hospital Flagler, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Haughton had 3 percent blood-level of carboxyhemoglobin, or COHb, at the time, according to investigators, who noted that Haughton is a smoker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that COHb levels must be elevated to at least 9 percent to warrant a carbon monoxide poisoning diagnosis for smokers.
Goddard’s daughter came home from work to find Haughton and Goddard were far gone in their suicide bid in this garage. Her mother died but her stepfather survived and is now facing murder charges
According to Sheriff Rick Staly, Haughton’s blood levels of COHb were much lower than Goddard’s, who was a smoker. Goddard’s COHb level was determined to be “very high” and her body already showed signs of rigor mortis, while Haughton was still breathing when deputies arrived.
Prosecutors determined the assisted self-murder charge was most appropriate, Staly said because of those types of discrepancies, that aroused the suspicions of investigators.
“There were a lot of unusual circumstances in this case, but the state felt that was the appropriate charge,” Staly said. “There’s insufficient evidence to charge him with murder. Although there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that would indicate this case is more than the charge.”