December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Avon man sentenced to 4 years in wife’s ‘mercy killing’

Robert Shaw, with attorney Kenneth Lieux, is sentenced in Judge Mark Betleski’s court at the Lorain County Justice Center on Monday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Robert Shaw, with attorney Kenneth Lieux, is sentenced in Judge Mark Betleski’s court at the Lorain County Justice Center on Monday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Robert Shaw, 90, was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for killing his wife of 65 years “to put her out of her misery,” as he told Avon police in 2008.

Shaw is eligible for early release after he serves six months in prison under the terms of the deal he struck in June with prosecutors that saw him plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

He originally was charged with aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault for smothering 84-year-old Virginia Shaw on Nov. 13, 2008. So-called “mercy killings” are illegal under Ohio law.

Shaw’s defense has long been that the death of his wife was a mercy killing to end the suffering she was enduring because of her many medical problems, which had caused her to be in and out of the hospital in the months leading up to her death.

Shaw declined to make a statement during the hearing, but his daughter, Carol Patsko, thanked prosecutors and Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski for their understanding of the situation with her parents.

Defense attorney Kenneth Lieux said his client was prepared to accept responsibility for his actions.

“He was resigned to it and he is at peace with whatever came with the court system and made his peace with his family,” Lieux said after the hearing.

The situation was difficult for Shaw’s family, who had supported him since he called police to the Shakespeare Lane home he shared with his high school sweetheart.

Shaw isn’t in the best health himself and had been free on bond while the case against him has been pending.

Shaw’s family declined additional comment as they left the courtroom Monday.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.