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Mercy killing or murder? Attorney says Ohio man accused in hospital shooting acted out of love

Summit County Sheriff Department

John Wise is charged with first degree murder.

An Ohio man accused of fatally shooting his wife of 45 years in a hospital intensive care unit acted out of love, his attorney and a longtime co-worker said on Wednesday.


According to police, John Wise was armed with a gun when he went to the neuroscience ICU at Akron General Medical Center in Akron, Ohio, and shot Barbara Wise, 65, in the head. A doctor who was also in the room at the time wasn't injured. 

Wise’s attorney, Paul Adamson, says Wise acted out of mercy.

"I'm thoroughly convinced he's a good man. I think his past history bears that out," Adamson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after a court appearance on Wednesday.

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"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."

Terry Henderson, 58, who said he worked with John Wise, of Massillon, Ohio, for 30 years, told The Associated Press that he believes Wise wanted to spare his wife from suffering when he shot her Saturday in her hospital bed. She died the next morning.

Barbara Wise had been admitted to the hospital last week with a non-disclosed, life-threatening condition.

Husband charged in fatal hospital shooting of wife: 'Is she not dead?'

Henderson said Wise, 66, was a good husband without a hint of domestic violence. He said Wise never wanted to become disabled in a nursing home and that Barbara Wise felt the same way. 

Wise appeared before an Akron municipal court judge via video from jail Wednesday morning for hi arraignment. The original attempted murder charge against him was upgraded to aggravated murder after results of Barbara Wise's autopsy. 

No plea was entered. Bond was set at $1 million. Wise must return to court Aug. 22.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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