According to a study published in Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications in 2021, there is a phenomenon known as illusory truth, where people tend to perceive repeated statements as more believable. This finding becomes significant when examining the consequences of bullying, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse.
In a recent disturbing instance of severe bullying, a district attorney argues that a Pennsylvania woman caused her estranged boyfriend, a military veteran, to take his own life through relentless messaging. However, the woman’s attorney contends that there is additional information that may alter the initial perception of the situation.
Mandie Reusch and Kevin Metzger were previously in a cohabiting relationship and had a daughter together, who was born in 2019. However, in June 2021, Metzger tragically ended his own life following a series of disturbing messages sent by Reusch while he was away on a military training exercise.
These messages included Reusch informing him that he would never have the opportunity to see their daughter again, as well as her referring to her new partner as the child’s “Daddy.” Additionally, Reusch sent Metzger video footage of herself engaging in sexual activity with another man.
According to a report by CBS News, Pennsylvania State Trooper Steve Limani described the messages sent by Reusch as some of the most severe bullying he had ever encountered. He depicted Metzger as being constantly targeted, with someone persistently urging him to end his life. The messages began in June 2020, and Reusch allegedly instructed her boyfriend to commit suicide on multiple occasions.
Following an investigation that lasted nearly two years, Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli charged Reusch with aiding suicide, a felony, as well as harassment, a misdemeanor. The district attorney asserted that the bullying reached a level that warranted criminal charges, and speculated that Metzger might still be alive today if Reusch had not encouraged him to take his own life.
According to Phil DiLucente, the attorney representing Reusch, he informed CBS News that the media outlet did not possess all the relevant information regarding the case, and that both parties involved had engaged in unpleasant exchanges. As reported by the Daily Mail, the attorney expressed his opinion that although a jury might perceive his client’s messages to Metzger as “immoral,” he did not believe that those texts met the criteria for a felony criminal charge of aiding suicide. DiLucente explained that the messages lacked elements such as coercion, duress, or explicit methods or means that would typically be necessary to meet the standard for such a charge.