Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sun City, AZ: Sun City man charged with first-degree murder in wife's death

George Sanders, the 85-year-old Sun City man accused of shooting his wife in what has been described as a mercy killing, has been charged with and indicted today for first-degree murder.
Sanders was arrested at his home Nov. 9 after he and the caregiver of his wife, 81-year-old Virginia Sanders, called 911. Sanders admitted to shooting her and was taken into custody, officials said. He was released on $20,000 bond Nov. 12, a day after his wife passed away at a local hospital.
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesman Jerry Cobb said Sanders was not seen as a threat to the community in part because the case appeared to be a mercy killing, though he said earlier his office was still awaiting reports from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detectives investigating the case and could not offer further details.
Those reports were received late last week, a charge of first-degree murder was filed and a grand jury has now returned that indictment.
There was no word Tuesday as to when Sanders will make his next appearance in court.
There was no word Tuesday as to when Sanders will make his next appearance in court, though the direct complaint filed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office did provide further information as to what happened the day Sanders shot his wife.
According to the police report included in the filing, Sanders said the caretaker took his wife to a doctor’s appointment that morning where she was told she had gangrene on one of her feet and was advised it would need to be treated immediately. The doctor said Virginia should be taken to Boswell Hospital. When the caregiver called Sanders to inform him of the diagnosis, he instructed her to instead bring his wife home.
Sanders told police when Virginia got home she said she did not want to be admitted to the hospital and that he and Virginia looked at it as a death sentence. Sanders said Virginia told him she believed if she went to the hospital they would operate on her and then place her in a nursing home for the rest of her life.
“She didn’t want any part of that,” Sanders is quoted as saying in the police report.
At that point Sanders said the two began to discuss the idea of ending her life. Sanders said he told Virginia he did not think he could do it when the caregiver called to ask why Virginia had not yet been admitted to the hospital. Sanders said that created a sense of urgency, that Virginia told him they had to “do it now.” He said he continued to protest, saying he did not think he could kill her, to which he told police she replied, “Yes, you can. I don’t want to go up there to get cut up.”
Sanders told police he then retrieved his gun, a .22-caliber pistol, and returned to Virginia and shot her.
Sanders then called the caretaker to say what he had done. He and the caretaker both called 911 to report it. When police arrived, Sanders was waiting on his front porch. He was taken into custody and secured in a squad car while police entered the home. They found Virginia still seated in her wheelchair. Virginia was still breathing and was transported by helicopter to John C. Lincoln North Mountain with life-threatening injuries. She was pronounced dead two days later.
Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or

No comments: