这个故事最初是于1987年产生的，在美国法庭科学技术学会（英语：American Academy of Forensic Sciences）的晚宴上，前会长唐·哈珀·米尔斯讲述了这个故事。米尔斯表示他只是出于娱乐目的而编造了这个故事，同时也通过这个故事“展示不同证据的出现是如何影响案件调查和审理的”。
而在互联网上，这个故事的出现可追溯到1994年8月，之后便被广泛传播。在网络传播的版本中通常称，这取自1994年*对美国法庭科学技术学会（英语：American Academy of Forensic Sciences）晚宴的报道。米尔斯认为此故事十分离奇，对其广泛传播表示惊讶。他在数年内受理了难以计数的对“该案”相关信息的询问。
On 1994-03-23 a medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a gunshot wound of the head caused by a shotgun. Investigation to that point had revealed that the decedent had jumped from the top of a ten story building with the intent to commit *. (He left a note indicating his despondency.) As he passed the 9th floor on the way down, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, killing him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the 8th floor level to protect some window washers, and that the decedent would most likely not have been able to complete his intent to commit * because of this.
Ordinarily, a person who starts into motion the events with a * intent ultimately commits * even though the mechanism might be not what he intended. That he was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below probably would not change his mode of death from * to homicide, but the fact that his * intent would not have been achieved under any circumstance caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands.
Further investigation led to the discovery that the room on the 9th floor from whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. He was threatening her with the shotgun because of an interspousal spat and became so upset that he could not hold the shotgun straight. Therefore, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking the decedent.
When one intends to kill subject A, but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. The old man was confronted with this conclusion, but both he and his wife were adamant in stating that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded. It was the longtime habit of the old man to threaten his wife with an unloaded shotgun. He had no intent to murder her; therefore, the killing of the decedent appeared then to be accident. That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.
But further investigation turned up a witness that their son was seen loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal accident. That investigation showed that the mother (the old lady) had cut off her son's financial support, and her son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that the father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
Now comes the exquisite twist. Further investigation revealed that the son, one Ronald Opus, had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to get his mother murdered. This led him to jump off the ten story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a 9th story window.
The medical examiner closed the case as a *.
问题的关键就是子弹是在什么样的情况下由什么人装进去的。警方在调查中找到了一 名证人，这名证人证明在案发六周之前亲眼看到这对老夫妻的儿子往这把枪里面装了子弹。警方从更深入的调查中得知，因为老太太决定停止给成年的儿子经济支持，这个儿子怀恨在心，起了杀意。他知道他的父亲有用枪恐吓老太太的习惯，所以就给枪 装了子弹，希望借父亲之手杀了母亲。既然这个儿子明知给枪装子弹会有什么样的后果，那么即使他没有亲自抠动扳机，他也应该被指控犯了杀人罪。所以，此案就成了老夫妻的儿子对罗纳德·奥普斯犯下了杀人罪。