December 22, 2014

Medina
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Ohio inmate who fatally shot ailing wife dies

John Wise addresses the court during his sentencing on Dec. 13 at Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron, Ohio. Wise, sentenced to six years in prison for fatally shooting his ailing wife in her hospital bed, wants clemency to avoid dying in prison. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Phil Masturzo, File)

John Wise addresses the court during his sentencing on Dec. 13 at Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Phil Masturzo, File)

COLUMBUS (AP) — A 68-year-old Ohio man who said he acted out of love when he shot to death his ailing wife in her hospital bed died while serving his six-year sentence, his attorney and the state prisons department said Tuesday.

The man, John Wise, of Massillon, had been in a prison medical center in Columbus and died Monday at a hospital emergency room, Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

“Cause of death was indicated as cardiac arrest,” Wise’s attorney, Paul Adamson, said in a statement. “We prefer to believe John died of a broken heart.”

Wise had said he shot his debilitated wife out of love in 2012 after she suffered an aneurysm and appeared to be in pain at a hospital in Akron. Mercy is not a defense to a murder charge in Ohio.

Wise’s sentence handed down in December was in line with a prosecution recommendation that he receive punishment lighter than the minimum 23 years on his most serious conviction, an aggravated murder count.

Wise had a number of physical ailments, including chronic heart disease and diabetes. He had applied for clemency, acknowledging that he had to live with what he did and saying he hoped to spend whatever time he had left at home.

“I committed a horrible act while in a depressed and desperate mental state,” Wise said in a sworn statement notarized by his attorney. “I am truly sorry for what I did. Although I had nothing but good intentions, that is no excuse.”

Police said Wise calmly walked into the hospital room on Aug. 4, 2012, and shot his wife of 45 years at her bedside. She died the next day. Wise told police he also intended to kill himself, but the weapon jammed.

A doctor testified that Barbara Wise wasn’t terminally ill and appeared to be responding to treatment.

Prosecutors said the case warranted leniency, but they emphasized that Wise’s actions were illegal and had said they would oppose any further reduction in his sentence.

A hearing before the state parole board on the clemency issue had been scheduled Aug. 11, Adamson said.