AKRON, OH - A man suspected of calmly walking into a hospital's intensive care unit and shooting his wife in the head in what may have been a mercy killing appeared perplexed at the attempted murder charge against him when he stood before a judge Tuesday, asking whether his wife was indeed dead.
Hours later, a medical examiner issued a report ruling the woman's death from the gunshot wound a homicide, clearing the way for prosecutors to consider more serious charges.
John Wise, 66, with a white beard down to his chest, appeared before an Akron Municipal Court judge via video from jail on an aggravated attempted murder charge. His bond was set at $1 million.
The judge delayed his formal arraignment until Wednesday to give Wise time to get an attorney.
Wise, who lived with his wife in Massillon, is charged with shooting his wife of 45 years at her bedside in the ICU unit of Akron General Medical Center on Saturday. She died the next morning.
Wise was apparently confused about the attempted murder charge Tuesday, asking, "Is she not dead?"
Visiting Judge Marvin Shapiro didn't answer his question but said he would soon have an attorney who could.
"We're going to get you an attorney who will be able to answer all of your questions for you, sir," Shapiro told him.
Wise surrendered to hospital security after the shooting and has cooperated with investigators.
Police said Barbara Wise had been in critical condition in the ICU for several days, but details of her illness haven't been made public.