[Ed. – Domestic violence isn’t to be excused, but it was being dealt with according to law in this case, and it sounds like all the relevant authorities were legitimately satisfied that the man in question – a one-time offender whose girlfriend sounds like no prize – was taking responsibility and getting his life back in order. A hysterical activist mob made it such a hell that he apparently saw no way out.]
Before killing himself with a drug intended for rapid and painless animal euthanasia, Richard A. Morrisett had endured a nightmare at the University of Texas in Austin. The 57-year-old tenured professor of pharmacology and toxicology was once a rising star in the College of Pharmacy – a man regarded as a first-rate research scientist and teacher during his 21 years at the state’s flagship university. Morrisett’s research offered new insights into alcohol-related brain disorders and alcoholism – an arcane area of research among neuroscientists. Some colleagues called him “brilliant.”
Morrisett’s career, however, was destroyed by a single newspaper article. Published by the Austin American-Statesman, a metropolitan daily, the article dredged up an ugly episode from Morrisett’s past – a domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend at the time. It was the sort of inexcusable incident that, sadly, the police and courts handle all the time. There were no serious injuries; it hadn’t even merited a headline when it occurred on May 28, 2016. Morrisett, in a plea deal, pleaded guilty to a 3rd degree felony. He was sentenced to four years of probation, called community supervision in Texas, and ordered to receive counseling, take a class on avoiding family violence, and perform 100 hours of community service. Morrisett had thought he was moving on with his life. He had accepted responsibility for his actions and, moreover, had put an apparently volatile and dysfunctional relationship behind him.