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Man asks Ohio governor for clemency in wife's shooting death at hospital

TNS Regional News • Jan 12, 2014 at 4:07 PM

The attorney for John Wise filed an application for executive clemency from the governor.

Wise, 68, of Massillon, received a negotiated six-year prison term last month for the 2012 shooting death of his bedridden wife at Akron General Medical Center.

He is serving his sentence at Lorain Correctional Institution. Prison records show that Wise was admitted Dec. 20 — one week after Summit County Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands ordered the sentence on one conviction for felonious assault.

The jury verdict convicting Wise of all counts — aggravated murder, murder and felonious assault — still stands. However, lawyers from both sides, after extensive discussions with Rowlands, agreed that leniency was in order because Wise did not act out of malice when he shot his wife of 45 years, Barbara, following a series of cerebral aneurysms that left her incapacitated.

Defense attorney Paul F. Adamson of Akron said in a news release Thursday that his client “is in poor health and is not likely to survive his prison sentence.”

Adamson said Wise committed the act based on his wife’s wishes that “she not be kept alive in a vegetative state,” along with his concerns that his own physical ailments would prevent him from properly taking care of her if she went home from the hospital.

Trial testimony showed that Wise suffers from severe diabetes, heart problems and a degenerative back condition.

Since his arrest in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Wise was confined under house arrest at his home in Massillon, and thus, already has been incarcerated for nearly a year and a half, Adamson said.

Under Ohio law, the clemency application must first be submitted to the Ohio Parole Board, Adamson said, for an investigation into the facts and circumstances of the case. That could lead to a formal board hearing.

At the conclusion of such a hearing, the board would forward the application to the governor’s office with a recommendation either to grant or to deny clemency.

The final decision would rest with Kasich. A spokesman for the governor declined to comment on the clemency request.

In the Dec. 13 sentencing hearing in Rowlands’ court, Adamson told the judge he had “never represented a finer man” in his 31-year legal career.

Wise, who testified in his own defense at his trial, told the jury that the shooting took place when he “snapped” at his wife’s bedside after seeing a tear running down her cheek.

Testimony showed that although Barbara Wise was not on life support at the hospital, she never regained consciousness and could not speak.

Summit Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi, the chief trail prosecutor, said the agency strongly would oppose any defense request for clemency or judicial release.


By Ed Meyer - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)

©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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