William Hager watched his 78-year-old wife, Carolyn, suffer from medical problems, including arthritis, for 15 years. But when the couple could no longer afford her medication, an ominous idea popped into his head, per CNN. Authorities say Hager, 86, called police around 1pm Monday, allegedly telling responding deputies, "I have bad news. I shot my wife at 7:30 this morning. I want to apologize I didn't call earlier. I wanted to tell my kids what happened first," reports WPBF. He said he shot his wife in the head as she slept because she previously said she wanted to die, was in pain, and couldn't afford medication, per an affidavit. "He felt that he was at a point that this was his only course of action," says the chief deputy in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Hager was booked in St. Lucie County Jail and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. A neighbor tells WPTV that Carolyn Hager had complained about "excruciating" back pain a few days earlier, but "they seemed like such a nice couple … so it was quite a shock." Another neighbor says she faced a similar situation when her husband couldn't afford his medication and asked her to shoot him, but she couldn't. "He suffered so badly and there's nothing you can do," she says, noting prescription medications should be more affordable. The Hagers filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and William took a job at Sears to help pay for Carolyn's medications; it isn't clear if he knew a local clinic helps people pay for medications not covered by insurance. (Read more Florida stories.)