Man found guilty of convincing Knoxville woman to commit suicide while he watched

The man convinced the woman to shoot herself on camera while he watched, according to officials with District Attorney Charme Allen’s office.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 11:23 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Prosecutors with District Attorney Charme Allen’s Major Crimes Unit obtained a conviction against a man who convinced a Knoxville woman to kill herself while he watched, according to a release from the DA’s office.

Hayden Berkebile formed a relationship with the victim where he had “sexual control” over her. During their years-long relationship, Berkebile made her do “dangerous and demeaning” acts, the release said.

On Sept. 29, 2019, Berkebile was video chatting with the woman when he coerced her into loading a .357 revolver and spinning it to play Russian roulette. Berkebile then had the victim show him the revolver, meaning he knew at the time that the gun would fire when the trigger was pulled. Berkebile then convinced the victim to place the gun against her head and pull the trigger, which led to her death.

Knoxville Police Department investigators determined that the woman did not die by suicide, but was rather convinced to kill herself by Berkebile, the release said.

“Thanks to the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors in this case, this victim’s family was able to receive closure knowing the Defendant was held accountable,” DA Charme Allen said.

Criminally negligent homicide only carries a punishment of one to two years. Prosecutors plan to ask that Berkebile serves the time in custody.

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