Man, 85, spared prison for killing wife

Jan. 27, 2009 at 5:19 PM
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VENTURA, Calif., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- An 85-year-old Southern California man has been spared prison for an attempted murder-suicide that killed his Alzheimer's-stricken wife.

A judge in Ventura County sentenced James Wheeler of Carpinteria to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service, the Los Angeles Times reported. At Thursday's hearing, Judge George Eskin said that Wheeler had been punished enough by spending a week behind bars in September when he was arrested.

Betty Wheeler died in November, about two months after her husband tried to kill them both by running an exhaust hose from their car into their beach cottage. A neighbor saw the hose and summoned police.

Terry Scrivner, Wheeler's daughter, said that her father will be working with an Alzheimer's support group as his community service. She said he was distraught because his wife, diagnosed five years ago with Alzheimer's, no longer recognized him.

"He realizes now there were probably other ways to deal with the situation,'' she said.

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