A Bettendorf man was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted murder for allegedly suffocating his brother in November.
Todd Alan Laing Sr. put his hands over his brother's mouth on Nov. 11, expecting and intending to cause his brother's death, according to an arrest affidavit from the Bettendorf Police Department.
Laing's brother died because of Laing's actions, the affidavit states.
The suffocation was witnessed by a family member, and Laing admitted to other witnesses after the fact that he had put his hands over his brother's mouth, according to the affidavit.
Laing's family has alleged the deceased was terminally ill.
"For all we know, if my dad did not touch him he would have died at the same time," Laing's son, Todd Laing Jr., said, adding that he doesn't condone his father's actions but he does believe his uncle's condition is an important part of the story of what happened.
Scott County First Assistant Attorney Amy DeVine said Laing wasn't charged with murder because both first-degree and second-degree murder require the perpetrator to have had "malice aforethought." State prosecutors didn't feel they could prove Laing had such malice, and a charge of attempted murder doesn't have the same requirement.
DeVine said they couldn't charge Laing with voluntary manslaughter because it requires there to have been some sort of instigator that would cause a reasonable person to react violently, and that didn't occur in Laing's case. Prosecutors didn't want to charge Laing with involuntary manslaughter or anything less because the killing was clearly done on purpose, according to DeVine.
Attempted murder is a class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Laing is being held in the Scott County Jail without bond.