Is it really possible to kill a person and collect their life insurance afterwards?
You wouldn’t think so, but the unique case of Michael D. Moore shows there are exceptions.
How could this have happened?
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The story begins on August 09, 2013. This is when the accused, Michael D. Moore, age 34, shot and killed his fiancée Kayla Humphries at their home. Moore then went on to shoot one of his best friends, Darrell Bailey at his place of residence.
At the time of her murder, Kayla Humphries, age 30, had two children which she and Moore conceived together.
She also had 5 life insurance policies with 3 separate companies. The life insurance proceeds added up to a total of $600,000. She had named Moore as the beneficiary of all the policies because she believed that he would take care of their children.
Michael Moore was charged with 2 murders and brought to trial for his crime. In a twist of fate, it turns out that he could have received all the life insurance money and unbelievably most legal experts agreed with this unsavory result.
Is it possible that people may not protected from such a terrible miscarriage of justice?
Well, in fact the public is indeed protected by the so called “Slayer Rule.” The Slayer Rule prohibits anyone from inheriting any form of money because of murder.
Although it sounds ludicrous that a murderer could profit from life insurance proceeds, a legal twist occurred in the Humphries and Bailey homicides.
During the course of the trial, Michael Moore was found to be not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffered from schizophrenia. Psychiatrists testified that Moore was delusional because he believed he was receiving secret instructions from both the television and radio.
After declaring Moore mentally ill, the courts neither incarcerated nor imprisoned him. He fulfilled his indefinite sentence in a mental facility.
As a result of his psychiatric condition and diminished capacity, he could have legally received all the life insurance proceeds. Simply put, it was not his intent to kill and profit from the crime.
The mother of Kayla Humphries and legal guardian of the children, Lisa Diasabio began legal proceedings. She claimed Moore should not receive the life insurance money due to the “Slayer Rule.”
Moore would have likely won the legal battle, because he was considered not criminally responsible for his acts.
However, the matter was eventually settled out of court when Moore agreed to give $525,000 for the care of his children. He kept $75,000 for himself.
Moore is considered as being dangerously mentally incapacitated. It is very likely he could remain in a secure mental health facility for many years.
In another similar incident which took place in Nebraska, a man who was convicted of the manslaughter of his wife and also profited from the life insurance proceeds.
Patrick Cain, 61 was convicted of killing his wife during a drinking spree. During an argument Cain pushed his wife down the stairs. The fall resulted in her death. To add insult to injury, he stuffed his wife’s lifeless corpse into a closet.
It was Cain himself who called the police. After a police investigation, he was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to 2 years.
Cain was initially denied the life insurance proceeds under the “Slayer Law”, however he appealed this decision by claiming that never intended to kill his wife.
Because of the lack of witnesses, the state settled with Cain who received 50% of the life insurance proceeds.
It may seem like a travesty of justice that both of these incidents involve life insurance proceeds being awarded to beneficiaries who committed violent crimes. It is possible in rare situations where are the actions of the accused are the result of mental incapacity, or other extraneous legal circumstances that insurance companies may be bound to pay out on claims.
That being said, the slayer rule does protect the majority of people from deliberate and malicious acts of murder.
Life insurance proceeds cannot be paid out to people who “feloniously and intentionally” use murder for profit.
So if you were wondering whether or not life insurance companies ever have to pay out these type of claims the answer is yes. The legal disputes over the life insurance money were not instigated by the life insurers, but were initiated by the relative of the victim in the first instance and by the state in the second.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.