When a loved one dies young or ‘before their time’ so to speak, it is natural that family members look to someone else to blame. The matter is more complicated when drugs are involved. Do you blame the dealer for supplying the drugs or the friend who introduced your loved one to the dealer? The case of Lese Buchanan was a difficult one for the Prosecutors which was probably why they charged her partner with an array of offences. Was Lese to blame for her own death or was her partner, Dr Christ Koulis, to blame?
Lese Buchanan was a struggling model and actress. She married young and divorced and had one daughter. She met Dr Christ Koulis and the two dated for over five years. It was a passionate relationship and they were on and off during that time. Christ was a Plastic Surgeon and supported Lese financially although Lese’s family felt this was part of a plan to control her. The weekend of July 4th 2005, Lese collapsed in her apartment and died. The cause of death was as a result of a drugs overdose. Christ had told Doctors she collapsed after a trip to the swimming pool. A number of syringes and medicine was found in her apartment.
Christ was charged with a number of offences ranging from assault to second degree homicide. Prosecutors believe he was the one who actually injected Lese. Her family believed he controlled her and alienated her from friends. They believed he made her think she was sick and that he was the only one who would make her better. The Prosecution’s case was that he used drugs before and gave them to Lese in 2002. He was so bad that his parents took him to rehab and Lese accused him at that time of injecting her against her will. They believed that this was what happened the weekend she died in 2005. It was their case that Christ injected her in the groin area and the fact the injection marks were all in a line showed he injected her and she did not inject herself. They even showed a homemade video of the two engaging in sexual activities from that weekend. The video did not show who injected Lese but Christ could be heard saying ‘apply pressure to the area to stop it from bleeding’.
It was the Defense’s case that Lese was a drug addict and injected herself. They also believed it was the fillers that killed Lese and not a drug overdose. Fillers add bulk to products making very small active components easy for the consumer to take. They called an expert who testified that fillers when crushed and added to liquid and injected, built up over time and clogged the oxygen exchange process in Lese’s lungs . This produced a pulmonary embolism like effect on her lungs and heart. They said this would have developed over time due to drug abuse and that this is what caused Lese’s death. Christ gave evidence and admitted that back in 2002, he gave Lese drugs but on this occasion, she injected herself. The video of their sexual encounter showed that Lese was a willing participant despite at times seeming a little ‘out of it’.
Christ was found not guilty of second degree homicide but guilty of criminally negligent homicide. Essentially this implies that as a Doctor he should have done more. He was given the maximum sentence, two years. He walked free from Court on a $500,000 Bond as he lodged an Appeal for his conviction.
Five years after Lese died, Dr Christ Koulis was found dead. He died as a result of Bronchopneumonia and Opiate Intoxication-a drugs overdose. His Attorney got his conviction dismissed after his death.
This was a tragic case. Lese was only 35 years old with a young daughter when she died and Dr Christ Koulis was only 42 years old. I personally feel that this was a case that should not have gone to Trial. The problem lay with the fact that Christ was Lese’s Doctor in the sense that he gave her free liposuction, lip augmentation, breast augmentation, Botox , full face laser to name a few. I would have imagined though that that was a perk of dating a Plastic Surgeon as opposed to him being her Doctor in a more formal sense. While I accept he was guilty morally for introducing Lese to drugs, I feel the not guilty verdict given by the Jury regarding second degree homicide was the correct one. There has to come a point in time that we all have to accept responsibility for our own choices. Lese was an adult and could have said no and left Christ at any point. This was not a homicide case, it was another tragic death as a result of drug abuse.