Ohio Man Charged With Wife's Murder in Possible Mercy Killing

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An Ohio man who shot his wife in the head in a possible mercy killing was arraigned on a murder charge today.

John Wise, 66, was arrested Saturday after he allegedly shot his wife Barbara Wise, 65, in the head at the Akron General Medical Center where she had been in the intensive care unit.

The Massillon, Ohio, man appeared confused when he was arraigned on an aggravated attempted murder charge on Tuesday.

"Is she not dead?" he asked.

The charge was upgraded to murder after an autopsy revealed Barbara Wise had died as a result of a gunshot wound to her head, according to a report by the county medical examiner's office.

Capt. Dan Zampelli of the Akron Police Department said officials are exploring a mercy killing motive in the case.

It was unclear why Wise had been admitted to the hospital last week, however she was being treated for a life-threatening condition, Zampelli told the Associated Press.

"Certainly him wanting to end his wife's suffering is one of the motives we're looking into," he said.

On Saturday, Wise, who had frequently visited his wife and was known to hospital employees, came through the main entrance of the hospital.

"It was nothing unusual. He had been visiting his wife previously and the staff knew him," said Jim Gosky, spokesperson for Akron General Medical Center. "There was nothing anyone could have done."

Wise entered his wife's room where he allegedly shot her in the head. The "pop" prompted hospital employees to initially believe an oxygen tank had popped or a balloon had exploded, Gosky said.

"Someone heard a pop and one of our physicians ran toward the noise," he said. "The doctor responded and then immediately the code silver, which alerts employees when someone has a weapon, was called."

Two security officers were in the room in "less than a minute" and subdued Wise until police arrived, Gosky said.

Efforts were made to resuscitate Barbara Wise, however she died Sunday morning at 10:20 am, Gosky said.

The couple had been married for 45 years.