From the week of May 28, 2009

"The Giveaway," Alan Prendergast, May 14

Give and Let Die

My definition of a coroner or forensics examiner is an official responsible for investigating deaths, particularly some of those happening under unusual circumstances, and determining the cause of death. Based on that brief explanation, what in the world was Laradon thinking when it received an envelope with writing on the outside that read, "Wait until you hear from the coroner. Please don't call, everything is OK." Let me ask you, when was the last time you ever heard from a coroner when everything was okay? I cannot believe that Laradon didn't automatically suspect that whoever was responsible for that envelope was aware of an imminent death. That thought alone should have triggered Laradon to call law enforcement and turn over the envelope and its contents to them, immediately.

Either Laradon Hall was very ignorant, or it deliberately closed its eyes to a potential death — thereby enabling a desperate human being, a creature of god, to die unnecessarily.


Laradon Hall

Stewart Martin

Posted on

Did Annie Green ever offer a cogent explanation for her inaction, or apologize to the family? It sounds like John Beech had cancer. When there is a suicide, everyone feels, shares and assigns blame and, furthermore, the self-questioning and condemnations never abate. In any case, John Beech left when he wanted to, like Hemingway. Suicide would not be immoral if other unconsenting, unknowing people were not involved. Let's forget the blame part, huh?

A sincere apology from Green in the form of an editorial letter to Westword should suffice, and then everyone involved needs to move on. Everyone on the job is too busy to notice details or take responsibility. Who foresaw this coming? Give the lady a break. John wanted that money to go to Laradon. Respect his wishes. Laradon is a great work.

Gene Edwards

Colorado Springs

I just wanted to tell you what a terrific job you did on this story. I was a friend of John Beech's and never saw any signs of trouble; he was always the life of the party. I would have liked to have known him longer than I did — he was a great guy.

Thanks for bringing light to suicide and exposing Laradon Hall.

Aaron Glover


I have had the good fortune of knowing and working with Annie Green for almost twenty years. She is one of the most caring, empathetic individuals I have ever encountered. She has dedicated her life to the developmentally disabled and their families. To imply that she would take money, any amount, in lieu of saving a human life is ludicrous. Hindsight is always perfect in these types of situations, and to call John Beech's comments a suicide note is easy now, but at the time the note was quite ambiguous. Ms. Green called his house and requested to meet in person, but none of these requests were answered. 

In a tragic case like this, loved ones are compelled to speculate as to what could have saved the individual. But unfortunately, the only person responsible for Mr. Beech's death was Mr. Beech. Let's not increase this tragedy by tainting the good works of Annie Green and Laradon Hall.  

Jim White 


Fascinating article: well-written, good details and explanation. Very sad for the family, and appalling that the purported beneficiaries of his will would not act to check on his welfare when the notations on the envelope and the post-dating of the check could not have been a clearer statement of his intent. And these are people who take care of people with developmental disabilities?

My heart goes out to the family, and I hope that they prevail in court and that the institution does NOT get the "donation." This sad man could have been saved and could have had many more years ahead of him.

C. Christie Nute

San Diego


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