A man testified Thursday that he decided to shoot his wife of 45 years in her hospital bed after she appeared to be in pain during a visit and he saw a tear run down her cheek.
Occasionally wiping his eyes with a tissue, John Wise told jurors at his Akron murder trial that he had been concerned his wife’s condition was worsening and medical staff had told him it was “hour to hour.” He said he and his wife had agreed each wouldn’t keep the other alive if that meant living in a comatose state.
“She opened her eyes and looked at me like she was in pain and a tear rolled down her cheek,” Wise said. “I decided then what I was going to do.”
Hours after that unsettling visit, the 68-year-old Massillon man 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 said he doesn’t remember much after that.
He is pursuing an insanity defense in the August 2012 slaying of 65-year-old Barbara Wise. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Prosecutors contend Wise acted intentionally and should be held responsible. A doctor testified that Barbara Wise, who had suffered an aneurysm, wasn’t terminally ill and seemed to be responding to treatment.
A prosecutor asked how Wise feels about the shooting in light of testimony that his wife might have recovered. Wise replied: “About as bad as I can. She would still be with me.”
The Wises’ 46-year-old son, Mark Wise, testified that his parents had a good relationship and that he had given his father the gun for protection.
Friends of the couple have called the case a mercy killing. One friend, Terry Henderson, of Massillon, testified Thursday that John Wise seemed “lost” after his wife was hospitalized.
Marc Janoson, a New York City-area psychologist who examined Wise last month, testified that he showed signs of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a preoccupation with his own physical ailments. Janoson said Wise wasn’t fully aware of the unlawfulness of his actions.
“John himself feels he lost touch with reality and that (Barbara) was becoming more and more into a vegetative state, and he could not take care of her,” he said.
Janoson also testified that Wise said he injected himself with an overdose of insulin before going to the hospital, an action that Janoson said would have caused extreme confusion.
Janoson said the tests he conducted contradict the evaluation of another expert who reported that Wise knew what he was doing when he pulled the trigger. That expert is expected to testify today.
A note apparently written by Wise on the day of the shooting was found in the hospital room, where Wise also tried to kill himself, Akron police Sgt. Dave Garro testified earlier.
The note apologized for any trauma and inconvenience and said the shooting was done with love, for “good and honorable” reasons, Garro said.