Category

Dominatrix Case

In 2000, a self-described dominatrix allegedly confessed to police that while she was providing services for a 54-year old NH man, her client had a massive heart attack and died. To avoid harming her sadomasochistic business, or alert the IRS, instead of calling police about the dead man, she and her boyfriend dismembered the body in a Quincy apartment, bagged the parts, and tossed them into a dumpster in Maine.

The story made headlines again in 2001. At that time, it was not expected that Barbara Asher would be charged for the incident, due to a lack of physical evidence. The body was never recovered, and there wasn't any evidence such as DNA or proof of disposal of a body. Asher's confession was the only evidence in the case.

In 2002, she was arraigned for involuntary manslaughter and improper disposal of a body, and her boyfriend was arraigned for only the latter charge. On the date of the alleged crime, July 3, 2000, the victim was reported to have been shackled to a rack, with a collar around his neck, and a hood over his face. He then had a fatal heart attack. She supposedly waited 15 minutes, and then called her boyfriend. It was alleged that the boyfriend cut the body up in a bathtub with a double-bladed hacksaw, with Asher assisting by placing the parts into eight gray garbage bags. On July 4, the bags were tossed into the dumpster of a Chinese food restaurant in Augusta, Maine.

The Norfolk County District Attorney, Robert Nelson, was quoted in the November 30, 2002 Boston Globe about the case: "The involuntary manslaughter charge is based on the defendant's failure to act while Mr. — was struggling on the rack as she 'heard his last breath' — those are her words to the police." And, "She had a duty to act to prevent the death."

Phone records did indicate the victim had previous contact with Asher, but no physical evidence was ever discovered in the case. A landfill in Maine was searched, but the body was never found. The DA still decided to prosecute Asher.

On January 30, 2006, Asher was acquitted of all charges. During the trial, several police officers testified that she had confessed to watching a man die of a heart attack without helping him. Asher's lawyer was quoted as saying "No body. No blood. No DNA. No evidence," and the jury agreed with her. The boyfriend never went to trial, as he had fled to Argentina, and was never extradited. With a threshold of "reasonable doubt" required to prove that a crime had even been committed, it was a very difficult case to prosecute in the first place. The family of the missing NH man was extremely disappointed in the verdict.




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