Idaho's so-called "slayer statute" isn't named after the band. Still, if you'd just recite the statute to the sound of two ESP guitars blasting through a Marshall JCM 800 amp, a Hill custom bass and a seven-piece Tama Artstar II drumset with double bass drums and Paiste cymbals, it could pass for one of Slayer's Reign in Blood-era speed-metal classics.

The statute reads: "Any community property which would have passed to or from the benefit of the slayer by devise, legacy or intestate succession from the decedent shall be distributed as if he had predeceased the decedent." Translated: If you kill someone and then try to claim any inheritance from him or her, the state will act as if you died first. Taken literally, it's a complicated law that calls for a pinch of suspended disbelief. But as convicted murderer Larry Severson of Mountain Home found out last week, the Idaho Supreme Court has no trouble following the logic. They ruled that Severson could not collect half of a $200,000 life insurance policy on his late wife Mary, whom he was convicted of poisoning. The crime took place in 2002, two years after Mary had purchased the policy for herself, naming Severson as the beneficiary and her mother, Carolyn Diaz, as a contingent beneficiary. According to the court ruling, Diaz will be awarded half of the policy and the other half will pass to Mary Severson's estate.

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