Arsenic and New Breasts

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July 12, 2006

Bereft Bought Breasts.jpg

Everyone grieves the death of a loved one in his or her own way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve but there are some somewhat suspicious ways to deal with one's mourning that might lead to more than a few disapproving glances from nosey neighbors. I would think that if one were married to someone that died under unusual conditions you might want to reign in the merry widow behavior.

According to the AP in a story previously reported on and recently updated (12/15/05, 07/11/06), Cynthia Sommer, 32, didn't act like your typical grieving widow. Instead she signed up to an online dating site two weeks after her husband's death, held several boisterous parties and finally had enough money to pay for breast enlargement surgery in April 2002 a couple of months after her hubby's passing in February of that same year.

Needless to say, when the autopsy came back to reveal that 23-year-old Todd Sommer didn't have a heart attack but died from having 1020 times the normal level of arsenic in his system, the missus looked suspicious and was charged with murder in March 2002.

Cynthia's late spouse was a Marine so the Navy investigated the case and according to one naval investigator, Rob Terwilliger, no connection was found between Mrs. Sommer and the actual source of the arsenic. Her defense attorney, Robert Udell immediately, "Then I guess the theory is it just had to be her?"

However, Terwilliger also testified that the family had been living with about an $867 deficit each month and the Cynthia had refused assistance form the Navy-Marine Relief Society since it would be contingent on her curbing her spending on clothing and meals. The widow had worked at a Subway restaurant and was at least $23 000 in debt.

Upon her husband's death, she received a $250 000 lump-sum payment from his life insurance policy, a $6000 death gratuity and became entitled to receive $1871 a month from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Outside court, her defense attorney skillfully denied that his client profited from her husband's death by classily stating, "After one year it was a wash."

Posted by Will Peters at July 12, 2006 11:36 AM

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