Ohio man convicted of murder for fatally shooting ailing wife in hospital bed gets 6-year sentence

a a a a
Share this story

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- An Ohio man convicted of fatally shooting his ailing wife in her hospital bed was sentenced Friday to six years in prison and plans to seek clemency from the governor.

John Wise, 68, has said he shot his debilitated wife out of love in August 2012 after she suffered aneurysms and appeared to be in pain at an Akron hospital. Mercy is not a defense to a murder charge in Ohio.

The sentence issued by Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands was in line with prosecutors' recommendation that the Massillon man receive a lighter punishment than the minimum 23 years on his most serious conviction, an aggravated murder count.

Holding a cane and wearing a striped jail outfit, Wise remained seated during the hearing. He made a brief statement, choking up as he apologized to his family and his son. He also thanked the prosecutors and the court.

Prosecutors said the case warranted leniency, but they emphasized that Wise's actions were illegal.

"It is not our intention to minimize what happened. You cannot bring a loaded gun into a hospital and shoot someone," Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said in a statement after the sentencing.

In court, Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi told the judge: "We believe that although his motive may have been pure, he was wrong."

Wise's attorney, Paul Adamson, said they will pursue clemency from the governor and create an online petition for supporters to sign. He called the shooting "an aberrational act" for Wise.

"I've never represented a finer man," Adamson told the judge.

The prosecutor's office said it would oppose any reduction in Wise's punishment.

Among those at the sentencing was Liz Flaker, one of the jurors who convicted Wise after he pursued an insanity defense. She said the jurors, who deliberated for several hours, took two votes. The first was 9-3 in favor of conviction; the second was unanimous.

"There was really no split, per se, but I think there were a couple of people that kind of wavered on ... thinking was he insane or was he not insane," Flaker said. "I think the way the law was written for the state of Ohio is a little bit hazy."

Prosecutors had recommended that Wise be sentenced to six years for manslaughter, a charge that wasn't among the counts against him but is considered a lesser included offense. After neither side found previous case law to support that unusual suggestion, the prosecution instead asked the judge to sentence Wise under his felonious assault conviction with a firearms specification, and the judge did so.

Wise also was convicted of aggravated murder with a firearm specification and murder, which could have led to a life sentence.

Police say 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 intended to kill himself, too, but the weapon jammed.

"My recollection is that I walked in there, and within two minutes, I kissed her on the cheek and shot her," Wise told jurors.

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.

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

---

Associated Press writer Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Ohio News
Ohio state park facilities to be modernized
Ohio state park facilities to be modernized

State officials are preparing to invest $88.5 million to upgrade and modernize trails, campgrounds and recreational facilities in Ohio's…

More than 73K vote early in Ohio primary
More than 73K vote early in Ohio primary

More than 73,000 Ohioans have voted early so far in the state's primary election next month.

Court: Ohio man must pay $489,000 for false call
Court: Ohio man must pay $489,000 for false call

An appeals court says an Ohio man whose false distress call triggered a massive, 21-hour search on Lake Erie must pay $489,000 to the U.S.…

Steubenville coach gets jail in rape case
Steubenville coach gets jail in rape case

A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players has…

No contest plea expected in football rape case
No contest plea expected in football rape case

A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players is…

Should OH politicians be able to lie in ads?
Should OH politicians be able to lie in ads?

A debate over what is truth and the nature of free speech born out of the 2010 campaign of former U.S. Representative…

Gender gap widens in Ohio statewide offices
Gender gap widens in Ohio statewide offices

The average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown to almost $10 an hour.

Gender gap under OH governor nearly $10 an hour
Gender gap under OH governor nearly $10 an hour

 A newspaper investigation has found the average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio's five elected…

Want to name a blimp? Goodyear opens voting
Want to name a blimp? Goodyear opens voting

Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has narrowed the list of possible names for the new airship that is the next generation of its…

Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag
Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag

An Ohio woman, who eats a salad nearly every day and makes spinach smoothies, has lost her appetite for her favorite vegetable after making a…