Crime

Man Gets Jail Time After Wife Requests He Kills Her

| by Sheena Vasani
The Canfield's ApartmentThe Canfield's Apartment

A man from Alameda, California, whose dementia-stricken sick wife allegedly requested he kill her was sentenced to three years in jail on Jan. 14.

Jerry Canfield, 73, shot and killed his wife, JoAnn, who had Alzheimer’s disease, in October 2014, the Daily Mail reports.

He then called police to tell them what he had done.

"I just shot and killed my wife," he told police, reports San Jose Mercury News. "I shot her in the head, and I want to turn myself in. The gun is on the nightstand next to the bed where my wife is. She had several medical conditions, and I wanted to end her suffering."

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Canfield explained to officials the couple had previously agreed Jerry could end her life if was she living in constant pain. They were married 40 years and Jerry said it was like “heaven.”

JoAnn had told her husband a few years before she would want to be killed if she ever got Alzheimer’s, which her grandmother had.

"He believed he had no other choice, and acted out of love and devotion to his wife," the probation report concluded. "Nonetheless, he made the choice to take a human life and did so in a rather violent manner. The nature of the crime simply warrants a state prison commitment."

JoAnn had increasingly bad hallucinations, with a neighbor explaining JoAnn would see little demons chasing her around the house, causing her to trip.

Jerry eventually put JoAnn in a care facility, but was unhappy with her treatment there. A day before he shot her, he took her from the facility, saying he was taking her for a family visit. He gave her sleeping pills, hoping they would kill her.

When she woke up the next day at their apartment, with particularly bad hallucinations in which she forgot who her husband was, Jerry shot and killed her.

Officials later found a bouquet of roses lay beside her body with a stuffed gorilla nearby.

Lisa Reed, JoAnn’s daughter from a previous marriage, says she harbors no ill will towards the Jerry.

“It's the ultimate love,” said Reed. “He gave his life up to go to jail to do this. How much love is that to sacrifice themselves for somebody?"

"When I heard [she was shot], it was kind of shocking, but I thought, 'OK, I know there was no ill will,' " Reed added she felt after police informed her JoAnn had died from assisted suicide.

"I wish he wasn't [in prison]. That's how I always felt, but it's the law," Reed added. "I don't hate him; it was the situation. That was pretty much the only alternative."

Sources: Daily Mail, San Jose Mercury News / Photo credit: ABC News via Daily Mail

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