Jury convicts husband in Ohio hospital shooting
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A jury on Friday convicted a man who said he fatally shot his hospitalized wife out of love because of her debilitated condition that left her unable to speak.
John Wise, 68, could face life in prison. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18.
Police say Wise calmly walked into Barbara Wise’s hospital room on Aug. 4, 2012, and shot her at bedside. She died the next day.
Barbara Wise, 65, was in the intensive care unit at Akron General Medical Center after suffering triple cerebral aneurysms that had left her unable to speak, a family friend has said.
Wise testified that he couldn’t stand to see his wife of 45 years in pain in the hospital.
“She opened her eyes and looked at me like she was in pain and a tear rolled down her cheek,” Wise told the jury this week. “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.
After the shooting, Wise surrendered to hospital security and was restrained until police arrived. He was later placed on house arrest.
Mercy is not a defense to a murder charge in Ohio. However, in closing arguments Friday, defense attorney Paul Adamson said Wise acted out of love.
“He was not there out of hate. He fully believed he was doing the right thing, not the wrong thing,” Adamson told jurors.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi said Wise’s attorneys were asking jurors to decide the case on mercy.
“They are asking you to ignore the law and find him not guilty,” LoPrinzi said.
The jury deliberated for about three hours Friday.
Shortly before the verdict was read, Wise leaned across the table and shook the hands of the prosecutors, telling them he knew they had a job to do.
He was immediately taken into custody following the verdict.
Those who know Wise say he was a loving husband devastated by his wife’s sudden disability. Some describe the shooting as a mercy killing.
Terry Henderson, who worked with Wise for years at a steel plant, said the couple had agreed they didn’t want to live out their years bedridden and disabled. He called Wise an exemplary husband without a hint of domestic violence who would rather be at home with his wife than out with the guys.
Adamson had said as the trial date neared that his client was “doing OK, but things are never going to be great for him.”
“He’s stable but he’s still grieving, I guess is the best way to describe him, for the loss of this life,” Adamson said.
Police say they found an apologetic note written by Wise in the hospital room.
Dr. Michael A. Passero Jr., who confronted Wise in the intensive care unit moments after the shooting, told The Associated Press that Wise had told him, “Please tell me she’s dead.”
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