Suxamethonium chloride is a common hospital anesthetic that has, off and on, moonlighted as murder weapon.
Used to paralyze patients so that doctors can more easily put insert a breathing tube, the drug can kill very easily if the person who gets a dose of it doesn't have access to things like respirators, or a medical team. And when somebody is killed by "sux", the death can look conveniently like a simple heart attack. More importantly, writes professional chemist and anonymous science blogger Dr. Rubidium, for many years, there was no way to test for sux in a dead person's bloodstream.
Since the early 1950s, sux has been used in a clinical setting mainly by anesthesiologists. It’s a mystery when it was first used in a homicide, but the first high-profile killings came in the 1966 and 1967. This salacious tale of murder involves anesthesiologist Dr. Carl Coppolino, his mistress, his mistress’ husband dying suddenly in ’66, Coppolino’s wife dying suddenly in ’67, a quick remarriage by Dr. Coppolino (not to that mistress), two trials in different states leading to different verdicts.
Coppolino’s first trial in New Jersey involved a shaky witness (that jilted mistress) and a tricky toxicology problem. ...
Back in the mid-to-late sixties, sux was likely considered a “perfect poison” as no tried-and-true method for detecting it in tissues was developed until the 1980s. Previous analysis had holes – including the analysis presented in both of Coppolino’s trials. It wasn’t sux that was detected, but the metabolites succinic acid and choline.
You can read the rest of Dr. Rubidium's post at The Journal of Are You Fucking Kidding.
Her post is part of a bigger series, though. If you dig weird, toxic chemicals, you should check out the "My Favorite Toxic Chemical" blog carnival—a collection of horrifying and wondrous posts about poisons.
Toxic Chemical Carnival: Day 1
Toxic Chemical Carnival: Day 2
Toxic Chemical Carnival: Day 3
Toxic Chemical Carnival: Day 4
Toxic Chemical Carnival: Day 5
People are so boring! A new study shows there are only four clusters of personality. Why bother talking to folks? Via Ars Technica: People love taking online quizzes; just ask Buzzfeed and Facebook. A new study has sifted through some of the largest online data sets of personality quizzes and identified four distinct “types” therein. […]
Great Whites travel months to visit what The San Francsico Chronicle describes as a “shark lair” in the Pacific Ocean. Mystified scientists took a deeper look.
Design studio Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell animated how it may be possible to build a lunar base with today’s technology. They based the video on articles in New Space: The Journal of Space Entrepreneurship and Innovation. See you on the dark side?
The human eye is a beautiful, incredible thing, but it’s far from perfect, especially when it comes to examining objects up close. Capable of magnifying objects up to 1,000 times, this portable microscope camera lets you see wonders hidden to your regular vision, and it’s on sale today for $38.99. Don’t let its compact size fool […]
There’s no shortage of apps available for your Mac, and, while it’s great to have options, this overabundance makes it difficult to find the apps worth installing on your computer. Thankfully, there’s the Pay What You Want: The Ultimate Mac Bundle ft. 2Do to simplify the process, which boasts 10 of the best Mac apps out […]
Sleek, minimalist, and convenient, Apple’s AirPods are a popular pick for those looking to upgrade to Bluetooth audio, but not everyone can afford the hefty $160 price tag. Whether you’re on a budget or just want something a little different, we’ve rounded up four pieces of audio gear that make for convenient Bluetooth listening, and […]