MONTREAL, January 20, 2011 ( – Mainstream media reports suggesting that a double murder may have been an instance of a “mercy killing” have been sharply criticized by Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

On Saturday, January 15, 2011, Sylvain Guidi allegedly shot his elderly father and mother in the family home in St-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec.

Some media outlets picked up on a comment by Guidi’s defence lawyer Michel Leclerc, who, admitting that he only met with his client “for a few minutes” at the Joliette, Quebec courthouse on Monday, told reporters the circumstances of the double deaths “appear to have involved elements of compassion.”

“His father and mother were sick,” Leclerc told reporters, according the Montreal Examiner.

Schadenberg remarked that that he is deeply concerned that the media is attempting to create a defense for Sylvain Guidi by superficially describing the health problems of his parents, and comparing his actions to the infamous case of Robert Latimer.

In 1997 Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer was given a life sentence for the second-degree murder of his daughter Tracy who had cerebral palsy. Latimer was granted full parole on Dec. 6, 2010.

“How does shooting ones parents with a hunting rifle have any comparison to Latimer, who was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his daughter Tracy by gassing her to death with the fumes of his truck?” Schadenberg questioned.

However, the CBC has also reported that Guidi’s lawyer said his client may have some psychological problems and was “known to police,” with a conviction for having assaulted a police officer.

“The media need to accurately report tragic cases without jumping to conclusions or creating a defense for the alleged killer,” Schadenberg concluded. “By bringing the issue of Latimer into a case that may or may not have anything to do with euthanasia, creates an emotional response to a story that possibly only benefits the media outlet who are seeking readership to sell newspapers or advertising.”