Ohio Husband Allegedly Shot Hospitalized Wife In Possible Mercy Killing

By: CBS/AP Posted By Samantha Anderson
By: CBS/AP Posted By Samantha Anderson

(CBS/AP) MASSILLON, Ohio - Authorities are planning an autopsy for a northeast Ohio woman whose husband is allegedly shot her in a possible mercy killing while she was in a hospital's intensive care unit.

The Summit County medical examiner's office said the autopsy had been delayed and will now be performed Tuesday or Wednesday on 65-year-old Barbara Wise, of Massillon. The autopsy originally was scheduled for Monday.

Akron police say 66-year-old John Wise entered his wife's hospital room at Akron General Medical Center on Saturday and shot at least one round from a handgun while standing at her bedside. Barbara was declared dead Sunday morning.

In a 911 phone call obtained by CBS affiliate WOIO in Akron, Ohio, a nurse at the hospital said, "We all went in the room because we thought it came from there, that it was an oxygen tank. Then we saw him sitting there with a gun. He was like loading it or whatever."

Akron assistant city prosecutor Craig Morgan said Monday that Barbara was incapacitated before her husband shot her in the head. She had been in the hospital's intensive care unit in in an extremely disabled state. Capt. Dan Zampelli confirmed she was in critical condition, and had been in the ICU for several days.

"We are in the preliminary stages of the investigation," Zampelli said. "Certainly him wanting to end his wife's suffering is one of the motives we're looking into."

The incident was isolated, and no other staff had been in harm.

The couple had been married for 45 years. They had lived in a brick bungalow house in Massillon, which is about 25 miles of Akron, Ohio.

Zampelli says police are waiting on the autopsy to decide what charge would be appropriate for Wise but he likely faces a murder charge. Zampelli added that Wise immediately surrendered to hospital security and has been "cooperative and forthcoming" with investigators.

Wise is under police guard in an undisclosed location.

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