By Thomas J. Sheeran
CLEVELAND: The 68-year-old Stark County man sentenced to six years in prison for fatally shooting his ailing wife in her hospital bed wants clemency to avoid dying in prison.
“I have to live with what I did and that will never change but I would truly appreciate the opportunity to pass my remaining years in the home I shared with my wife and son,” John Wise, of Massillon, said in the clemency application.
The application, obtained Tuesday from the Ohio Parole Board, was submitted last week for consideration by Gov. John Kasich.
Clemency options include reducing Wise’s sentence or setting him free. The governor’s spokesman said the administration does not comment on pending clemency applications.
The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office has said it would oppose any reduction in Wise’s punishment.
Wise, in a sworn statement notarized by his defense attorney, reiterated his remorse over killing his wife in 2012.
“I committed a horrible act while in a depressed and desperate mental state,” Wise said. “I am truly sorry for what I did. Although I had nothing but good intentions that is no excuse.”
The clemency application included five documents. The parole board said it does not release supporting documents.
The items listed include an affidavit from Wise’s son, Mark, and reports from two psychologists. Mark Wise testified at the trial that his parents had a good relationship and that he had given his father a gun for protection.
The application was signed Dec. 18, two days before Wise went to the Lorain Correctional Institution located southwest of Cleveland. The application lists his marital state as “widow” and said he had retired from a steel plant with a disability in 2003.
Wise’s physical ailments include chronic heart disease and diabetes.
“I am requesting clemency primarily due to my medical conditions which make it unlikely that I will survive six years in prison,” he said in the clemency application.
Wise said he shot his debilitated wife out of love in August 2012 after she suffered aneurysms and appeared to be in pain at Akron General Medical Center. Mercy is not a defense to a murder charge in Ohio.
Wise’s sentence handed down Dec. 13 was in line with a prosecution recommendation that he receive punishment lighter than the minimum 23 years on his most serious conviction, an aggravated murder count.
Prosecutors said the case warranted leniency, but they stressed that Wise’s actions were illegal.
Police say Wise calmly walked into the hospital room on Aug. 4, 2012, and shot his wife of 45 years at her bedside. She died the next day. Wise told police he intended to kill himself, too, but the weapon jammed.
Barbara Wise, 65, was in the intensive care unit at Akron General after suffering triple cerebral aneurysms that had left her unable to speak, a family friend has said.
A doctor testified that Barbara Wise wasn’t terminally ill and appeared to be responding to treatment.