|Dr. Lou Davis|
On February 7, 19-year-old Nancy Ward, a student at the University of Oklahoma, and her boyfriend, Fred H. Landreth, flew from Oklahoma to Kansas City and visited Dr. Richard Mucie at his ear, nose, and throat clinic. Mucie examined Nancy while Fred waited, then told the couple that he would contact them at their hotel. At 11 p.m., Mucie called and arranged to pick them up and drive them to his clinic. He took Nancy back for the back room while Fred waited in the outer office. About 20 to 30 minutes later, Mucie, dressed in a surgeon's gown, returned to the front office and asked Fred for money, $400, before starting the procedure. Mucie came out about every half hour to change the music on the phonograph, but didn't speak to Fred until about 7:30 on the morning of February 8, when he came out and asked Fred if he wanted to come back and see Nancy.
Fred went with Mucie into the office and saw Nancy lying on a couch with a cover over her. Fred said, "Hello," to her, and though Nancy didn't speak, she smiled and moved her hand. Mucie told Fred that Nancy was still sedated. Fred drank some juice that Mucie gave him, then went back to the waiting room to nap. He was awakened at about 11:30 that morning by Mucie's porter. Mucie told Fred that Nancy had suffered a heart attack and was in shock and had been taken to the hospital. He told Fred that he would come back for him, then went back into his office. Fred went looking for him and followed the sound of his voice to a back room, where Mucie was lying on a cot, talking on the phone and saying something to the effect of needing to call the coroner and filling out a death certificate.
Stunned, Fred went back to the waiting area. Mucie came out a few minutes later, told him that Nancy had died, and that they needed to stick to the story that the couple had been traveling through Kansas City and had called him because Nancy had started to have chest pains.
It was around that time that the ambulance arrived. The driver and attendant found Nancy on a cot. Mucie told them that she still had a pulse, and instructed them to take her to Osteopathic Hospital and administer oxygen en route. Nancy's hand, clenched into a claw, had blood on it. Mucie wiped off the blood. The ambulance driver and attendant lifted Nancy and found that she was already stiff, and of course had no pulse.
|Dr. Richard Mucie|
The autopsy found abundant evidence of the abortion, including stains from antiseptic on Nancy's upper thighs and genital area, a 1/2 inch tear in Nancy's uterus. The condition of her uterus, heart, and other organs indicated that she had gone into shock and died at the clinic at about 9 a.m. February 8, in spite of Mucie's attempts to resuscitate her. She had bled to death.
Mucie dropped the story that Nancy was a cardiac patient when the case went to trial. Instead, he admitted that somebody had called him in early February to arrange an abortion for his son's girlfriend from Oklahoma, and that he'd said that the pregnancy was too far advanced. The man had called back with a revised estimate of the pregnancy. Mucie said that he'd told the man that he'd charge $4 to examine the girl and see how far advanced her pregnancy was.
He said that after he'd examined Nancy and verified that she was 4 1/2 to 5 months pregnant, she had become distressed, saying that this would "kill" her father, and threatening to kill herself. He gave her some Vistaril to calm her then took the couple to the hotel. Nancy, he said, had called him some time after midnight, crying and hysterical. He agreed to meet the couple at his clinic.
Once there, he said, Nancy had said, "I had to do it, I just had to do it." He said he'd examined her and found fetal and placental tissues protruding from her cervix. He then prepped her and completed the abortion she had started herself. He insisted that he'd lied to everybody about Nancy's pregnancy and abortion in order to avoid giving her father a shock.
Mucie was convicted on June 8, 1968, of performing an abortion "not necessary to preserve the life" of the mother. Illegal abortion at that time carried a penalty of 3-5 years, with the sentence to be increased in cases where the mother died. Mucie served 14 months then was released on parole. Parole was set to expire on July 27, 1977. His medical license was revoked on May 4, 1971. After Roe v. Wade overturned Missouri's abortion law, Mucie successfully appealed his conviction and got his license restored under a ruling that madeRoe retroactive in Missouri. He was released from probation and his record expunged of the manslaughter-abortion conviction. Ironically, Nancy's fatal abortion was retroactively declared legal on the grounds that the state's "interest in maternal health" did not allow Missouri to have prohibited Mucie from performing it.
Robert Dale Crist, who would later go on to kill three of his own abortion patients, was one of the people who testified in Mucie's behalf to get his conviction thrown out and his license restored.