By Thomas J. Sheeran
CLEVELAND: The son of a 68-year-old man sentenced to six years in prison for fatally shooting his ailing wife in her hospital bed wrote a letter supporting his father’s bid for clemency.
“Although I was naturally devastated by the loss of my mother and the circumstances of her death, nevertheless, I understand what my father did and why he did it,” Mark Wise said in a letter accompanying John Wise’s clemency appeal.
“I love my father, I know he is not a violent man, I know he regrets his actions and he suffers the loss of my mother more deeply than anyone,” he wrote.
Wise’s defense team on Friday provided the Associated Press a copy of his sworn affidavit signed Dec. 19.
Gov. John Kasich’s administration won’t comment on clemency. The prosecutor in Akron opposes clemency for the retired steel worker from Massillon.
John Wise said he shot his debilitated wife out of love in 2012 after she suffered aneurysms and appeared to be in pain at an Akron hospital. Mercy is not a defense to a murder charge in Ohio. Mark Wise testified at the trial that his parents had a good relationship and that he had given his father a gun for protection.
In seeking clemency, John Wise said he wanted to be released from prison to spend his remaining years at home. His medical conditions “make it unlikely that I will survive six years in prison,” he wrote. His ailments include chronic heart disease, diabetes, degenerative disc disease, bladder cancer and nerve damage, according to a case summary sent with the clemency application.
Two psychological reports accompanying the clemency application haven’t been released by the Ohio Parole Board, but the case summary mentions brief details.
The psychologists concluded that Wise had a high anxiety level from persistent thoughts about the seriousness of his symptoms and the fear that he would be unable to care for his wife.
One psychologist concluded that Wise’s thinking becomes confused under stress and said he is unstable and ill-equipped to deal with his problems.
Police say Wise 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 Medical Center 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.