Sunday 24 September 2017

Husband faces life for shooting sick wife dead in ‘mercy killing’

A MAN who shot his wife of 45 years dead in her hospital bed is facing life in jail after an Ohio jury convicted him of murder, despite family and friends describing it as a mercy killing.

John Wise has said he was heartsick over his wife Barbara's debilitating condition that left her unable to speak.

Wise, 68, will have to serve a minimum of 23 years. He will be sentenced on November 18.

Police say Wise calmly walked into his 65-year-old wife's hospital room in August 2012 and shot her from her bedside. She died the next day.

Family friend Terry Henderson said Mrs Wise had suffered a stroke that had left her unable to speak. He said the couple had agreed they did not want to live out their years bedridden and disabled.

Wise told the Akron court that he could not stand to see his wife in pain. "She opened her eyes and looked at me like she was in pain, and a tear rolled down her cheek," he said. "I decided then what I was going to do."

Hours later he returned to the hospital with a gun.

"My recollection is that I walked in there, and within two minutes, I kissed her on the cheek and shot her," he said.

Wise told police he then intended to kill himself, but the weapon jammed.

Mercy is not a defence to a murder charge in Ohio, but defence lawyer Paul Adamson said Wise acted out of love. "He fully believed he was doing the right thing, not the wrong thing," he told jurors.

After the verdict, Summit County assistant prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi said Wise declined an offer of a reduced charge of manslaughter, which would have carried a maximum 14-year sentence.

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