An Ohio woman wasn’t terminally ill and seemed to be responding to treatment when she was shot to death in her hospital bed last year, a doctor testified Tuesday in the trial of the woman’s husband, who is accused of pulling the trigger.
Barbara Wise, whose August 2012 slaying was called a mercy killing by friends of the couple, was in stable condition at the time with “no issue involving end of life,” said Dr. Michael A. Passero Jr., a pulmonary-care physician who was caring for her at Akron General Medical Center.
Her husband, John Wise, 68, is pursuing an insanity defense on charges of aggravated murder. His attorney told the jury Monday that Wise was a loving husband whose mental state declined after his wife was hospitalized, spiraling to a point of despair.
A psychiatrist serving as an expert witness will testify that Wise’s mental state declined in the week before the shooting as he struggled with his inability to help his wife and his own physical ailments, which included chronic heart disease, diabetes and several others, his attorney said.
Prosecutors say Wise wrote an apologetic note before taking a taxi to visit his hospitalized wife, shooting her in the head as she lay in bed and then trying to kill himself before authorities took his gun.
He could face life in prison if convicted.
Also Tuesday, Paula Musgrave, a clerk in the hospital intensive-care unit, testified that she heard a “pop” in Barbara Wise’s room that day and went to investigate because she and others thought a piece of machinery had malfunctioned.
Instead, Musgrave said, she found John Wise trying to fire a shot with a gun that had jammed. She yelled that Wise had a gun, and people on the floor began running and diving for cover.
Two hospital security guards testified Monday about finding Wise sitting in his wife’s room with a gun in his hand.
The trial is scheduled to resume today.