Man, 88: Hospital Shooting Was a Botched Mercy Killing
He says he meant to kill paralyzed wife, himself
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2014 11:37 PM CST
Updated Jan 22, 2014 12:33 AM CST
This photo provided by the Carson City Sheriff 's Department shows William Dresser.    (AP Photo/Carson City Sheriff Department)

(Newser) – An 88-year-old man charged with shooting his wife as she lay in a hospital bed says he would have killed her and then himself if his gun hadn't jammed. William Dresser of Carson City, Nevada, has told police that his wife of 63 years had been paralyzed by an accident two weeks ago and he knew she wouldn't want to go on living that way, NBC reports. Before his newly bought handgun jammed, he was able to fire one shot into her chest, critically injuring but not killing her. He is now on suicide watch in prison.

Dresser's gun fell apart as he tried to fix it, say police, who stress that while he may have thought he was doing the right thing, his actions were not justified and they severely traumatized hospital staff. The local sheriff describes the couple as "great folks" with no criminal history. "They were some of the finest people you could ever meet," Dresser's neighbor of 25 years tells the Reno Gazette-Journal. "They’ve always been super close together. Never heard a disagreement among them in 25 years," he says. "Worst thing about it is poor Bill will spend the rest of his days in jail or prison."