August 29, 2014

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Prosecutor seeks lighter sentence in Ohio hospital shooting

John Wise, 67, waits for opening remarks on Nov. 4 in the Summit County Common Pleas Courtroom of Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Phil Masturzo)

John Wise, 67, waits for opening remarks on Nov. 4 in the Summit County Common Pleas Courtroom of Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Phil Masturzo)

AKRON, Ohio — An Ohio man who facing a mandatory life sentence for fatally shooting his ailing wife in her hospital bed last year deserves a lighter punishment because of the “unique facts” of the case, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said she would file a motion asking that 68-year-old John Wise be sentenced for the lesser crime of manslaughter, which would greatly reduce his prison time.

If the judge agrees, Wise would be sentenced to six years. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Akron on Monday.

Wise was convicted Friday of aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault, which carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison. He had pleaded insanity, claiming he couldn’t stand to see his 65-year-old wife in pain in the hospital after she suffered an aneurysm.

“What Mr. Wise did was illegal and very dangerous,” Walsh said in a statement. “He killed someone, and he endangered the lives of everyone in the hospital.

Still, she said, “in light of the unique facts of this case, a shorter prison sentence is just.”

Wise’s attorney, Paul Adamson, was in trial Thursday and wasn’t immediately available to comment, his office said.

Wise told jurors during the trial that he shot his wife of 45 years in August 2012 after she appeared to be in pain and he saw a tear run down her cheek.

He said 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.

Hours after that unsettling visit, the 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 testified last week. Wise said he doesn’t remember much after that.

Friends of the couple have called the case a mercy killing.

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. The note apologized for any trauma and inconvenience and said the shooting was done with love, for “good and honorable” reasons.