Real estate can be deadly: British tycoon kills stubborn tenant

Businesses, insurers, and other analysts have often sought to put a price tag on the value of a human life. In the health-care debate, for example, the magic number is $129,000; by comparison, when Ford designed the Pinto, its number-crunchers determined that the company's customers (or at least the lawsuits that they were likely to generate) were worth $200,000 apiece. Meanwhile, as people sell kidneys for as little as $6,000, it seems like a life might be worth even less if it is sold a la carte.

In 2000, faced with an inconvenient tenant who stood in the way of a $3.8 million deal, British businessman Thanos Papalexis determined that a human life was worth approximately $500,000. That was the amount that he stood to make on a real estate deal. This assumed, however, that he was able to get rid of Charalambos Christodoulides, the shy, quiet man who lived near a London warehouse that Papalexis was trying to sell.