A former California lawmaker was criminally charged for allegedly providing his wife with the gun she used to commit suicide with last year.
The Press-Enterprise reported that the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office charged ex-California Assemblyman Steve Clute with felony aiding or abetting suicide in connection with the death of Pam Clute, 66. Virginia Blumenthal, who is representing Steve, claimed that Pam suffered from a degenerative back condition which left her in “severe, severe pain.”
Though California’s assisted suicide law (called the End of Life Option Act) went into effect months before Pam’s death, it only applies to terminally ill individuals who were prescribed life-ending medications by a physician. Pam wasn’t terminally ill, reports indicated.
Charges come more than a year after Pam, a renowned math professor at the University of California, Riverside, supposedly ended her life at her Palm Desert home on August 21, 2016. Though her cause of death remained undisclosed, her death certificate was updated in October 2017 to reflect that she died from a gunshot wound, according to the newspaper.
The local publication has also accused police of consistently preventing them from obtaining Pam’s autopsy report. On Monday, police allegedly declined to make the report available to the public.
Blumenthal, who had known the couple for 40 years, told the Associated Press that Steve will plead guilty at his arraignment. Though she wouldn’t reveal details of his defense, she claimed that her client wasn’t present when the gun went off.
“You have to understand that everyone around here knows how much in love he was with her,” Blumenthal said.
“They were always together. They were very much in love with each other.”
The former lawmaker is scheduled to appear in court on December 6 for an arraignment.
[Featured Image: Steve Clute/Coachella Valley Housing Coalition; Pam Clute/University of California, Riverside]