Mercy or Murder? (1987)

TV Movie   |  Not Rated   |    |  Drama

Mercy or Murder? (1987) Poster

Roswell and Emily Gilbert were married for fifty-one years, but for the eight final years of their marriage Emily suffered from Alzheimer's disease and the bone disease osteoporosis. Often ... See full summary »


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13 May 2009 | sol-kay
| The very thought of you
(Some Spoilers) With his wife Emily, Frances Reid, of 51 years suffering from crippling arthritis and the oncoming of Alzheimers Disease retired engineer Roswell Gilbert, Robert Young, did what he thought was the right and merciful thing to do: Put her out of her misery with two bullets in her brain. As things turned out a Fort Lauderdale jury of twelve men and women found that Roswells actions were anything but merciful. They were down right murder. And instead of finding him innocent of saving his wife from a life of pain and suffering it sentenced Roswell to a 25 year to life sentence for murder in the first.

The movie "Mercy or Muder" brings to the surface the very emotional and controversial subject of mercy killing or euthanasia. A word which isn't as harmless as what it sounds like to those not familiar with its meaning: Something like teenager in China.

Roswell for all his feelings for his wife's sufferings did not in fact, as the evidence at his trial brought out, save his wife from unbearable suffering that made her life a living hell. Emily was in fact well enough, despite her arthritic condition, to get on her feet and walks for long distance at a time, almost getting hit by cars that she didn't even try to avoid, which showed that she wasn't a totally brain dead, from advanced Alzheimers, vegetable that her husband Roswell believed that she was.

It seemed that Roswell was more interested in-and wanted to free- himself in him having to put up with Emily's short term memory loss then in his wife's suffering. At his trial Roswell against his lawyer's Joe Varon, Eddie Albert, stern advice made no attempt at all to defend his act of "mercy" in not showing any remorse in what he did, saying it was the right and only thing for him to do! That did more to hurt his case then anything else. Even more then his premeditated and admitted killing of his wife Emily.

The movie tries not to take a stance on the subject of euthanasia, which is legal in a number European countries, but in showing what Roswell did it can only turn off as well as turn most of the audience against it. Emily as ill as she was was not suffering from a terminal disease which would have prevented her from being put to sleep, or euthanized, in countries where being mercifully put to death is legal like in the Netherlands.

P.S In the end Roswell Gilbert's sentenced was commuted-after serving five years behind bars-by Florida Governor Bob Martinez in 1990. Roswell later recanted what he did saying that his actions were not only misguided but also stupid in making things worse not only for Emily-by killing her-but himself by having himself convicted of a capital crime. Being married to Emily for over 50 years Roswell ended that wonderful friendship and marriage in a fit of mindless insanity. And by doing that Roswell was to suffer for it, in and outside of prison, for the rest of his life.

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Release Date:

11 January 1987



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