Husband, 86, Gets Probation in Wife's Mercy Killing
George Sanders says ailing wife begged him
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2013 3:54 PM CDT
George Sanders, center, is joined by his attorney Janey Henze Cook, right, outside a Phoenix courtroom Friday.   (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)

(Newser) – An 86-year-old man who carried out a mercy killing by shooting his ailing wife in the head was sentenced to probation today after an emotional hearing where family members tearfully spoke on his behalf. George Sanders could have faced more than 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. The judge opted for probation. The World War II vet told authorities his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969, and the couple moved from Washington state to the retirement community of Sun City outside Phoenix in the 1970s for the warm, dry climate.

Virginia Sanders, 81, had been diagnosed with gangrene on her foot just a few days before the shooting and was set to enter the hospital and then a nursing home. "It was just the last straw," Sanders told police. "She didn't want to go to that hospital ... start cutting her toes off." In a videotaped confession, Sanders said his wife begged him to kill her. "I said, `I can't do it honey,'" he told police. "She says, `Yes you can.'"

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 132 comments
jope
Mar 30, 2013 1:16 AM CDT
If you don't believe in God,you will do pretty much whatever feels good.Without belief in God ,morality is just a convenience.
cornelison
Mar 29, 2013 10:08 PM CDT
Twenty years ago a book named, "How We Die" came out. It described how different diseases kill us. The least painful way was with an instant stroke when become unconscious immediately & die. How do the doctors know? The patients who survive tell them. In "How We Die," the stroke happened to a man while he was playing tennis. He survived the stroke and said that he just remembered blacking out.
cornelison
Mar 29, 2013 9:49 PM CDT
The churches have too much political control in modern democracies. They invade our bedrooms and our death beds. It's all about control over us when we should have the right to have not only a painless death but when we want to die.