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

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.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.

Latest Forecast
More Ohio News
Ohio rakes in $45 million in online taxes
Ohio rakes in $45 million in online taxes

Online sales tax collections have hit an all-time high in Ohio this year.

Police: Dog attacks, kills 7-month-old in Dayton
Police: Dog attacks, kills 7-month-old in Dayton

A 7-month-old child is dead after being attacked by a dog at a home in southwest Ohio.

Tuition at most Ohio universities to rise again
Tuition at most Ohio universities to rise again

Tuition at 11 of Ohio's 13 traditional, four-year public universities will rise this fall.

Ohio agency uses 3-D scanner to map crime scenes
Ohio agency uses 3-D scanner to map crime scenes

Ohio's attorney general says agents with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation are getting access to 3-D laser scanners to help them more…

Children find skeletal remains in SW Ohio woods
Children find skeletal remains in SW Ohio woods

Police say skeletal remains were found by some children in a wooded area in southwestern Ohio.

Year-old Ohio arson registry lists 221 offenders
Year-old Ohio arson registry lists 221 offenders

Officials say 221 names were listed during the first year of Ohio's registry for people convicted of arson-related offenses.

Ohio Lottery logs record sales, $904M in profits
Ohio Lottery logs record sales, $904M in profits

The Ohio Lottery is reporting another year of record-high sales and profits, boosted partly by revenue from new video lottery terminals at…

Convicted sex offender sought by local police
Convicted sex offender sought by local police

State law enforcement officials are attempting to track down a convicted sexual predator who has been eluding authorities since 2012.

Indictment alleges mail carrier held deliveries
Indictment alleges mail carrier held deliveries

The government says an Ohio mail carrier stashed thousands of pieces of undelivered mail at his home over 18 months.

Woman dead, man hurt after Ohio house explodes
Woman dead, man hurt after Ohio house explodes

Authorities say a house in northeast Ohio has exploded, leaving one woman dead and a man injured with second- and third-degree burns.