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Friend says accused killer loved stricken wife
AKRON, Ohio — A man accused in the fatal shooting of his wife of 45 years in a hospital intensive care unit once told his longtime co-worker that the couple had agreed they never wanted to become disabled in a nursing home.
Authorities on Wednesday charged John Wise, 66, with aggravated murder in his wife’s death as police continued to investigate whether it was a mercy killing.
Police say Mr. Wise calmly walked into his 65-year-old wife’s room Saturday at Akron General Medical Center without drawing any attention and shot her at her bedside. She died the next morning.
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Wise appeared before a municipal court judge in Akron via video from jail, but did not enter a plea. He must return to court Aug. 22.
“Forty-five years of marriage, blessed to be deeply in love with his wife throughout those 45 years, and I am absolutely confident that everything that he’s ever done for his wife has been done out of deep love, including the events that just recently transpired,” the lawyer said.
Barbara Wise suffered triple cerebral aneurysms on July 28 and had been left unable to speak, Mr. Henderson said. He said he drove Mr. Wise to visit her at the hospital three times last week and that his friend had seemed to be holding up well.
A woman who identified herself as a nurse told a 911 dispatcher that people in the ICU heard a popping sound and ran to Barbara Wise’s room where they saw a man dressed in black.
“We saw him sitting there with a gun. He was, like, loading it,” she said.
Mr. Wise never went out with the guys at night, instead staying home with his wife, Mr. Henderson said. He said Mr. Wise never wanted to become disabled in a nursing home and mentioned that Barbara Wise felt the same way.
“You wouldn’t meet a more loving husband,” he said.
Emergency personnel responded to the Wises’ home in Massillon on July 28, a week before the shooting, for a medical call that involved advanced life support, including oxygen and a heart monitor.
A man, apparently Mr. Wise, told an emergency dispatcher that his wife was vomiting and not responding. “My wife is having some sort of a spasm or attack,” the man said, giving the couple’s address. “Hurry.”
Mr. Wise was hospitalized right after the shooting and later taken into custody wearing a hospital gown, police said Wednesday. It was not clear why he was hospitalized, a police spokesman said.
• AP writer John Seewer contributed to this report.
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