Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says today that mercy killing, or euthanasia, "is not an excuse for murder," as 86-year-old George Sanders was sentenced today on a manslaughter charge for fatally shooting his wife.
Apparently, Montgomery finds two years of unsupervised probation an acceptable sentence for "murder."
"Today's sentence is an appropriate one given the entirety of the facts and circumstances in this particular case," Montgomery says in his press release. "Nevertheless, this office remains committed to holding accountable anyone who unjustly takes an innocent life, regardless of the reason given. Mercy killing, also known as euthanasia, is not permitted in Arizona and is not an excuse for murder."
Two years of unsupervised probation -- the "unsupervised" part meaning Sanders will essentially have to do nothing -- seems a bit light for "murder," doesn't it?
Better yet, Sanders' manslaughter conviction and ultimate sentencing were the result of a plea agreement -- meaning Montgomery's office agreed to this plea.
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To clarify, according to the Associated Press report, "The judge, who complimented the prosecutor for being "courageous" in recommending probation, allowed Sanders to walk out of the courtroom."
Sanders called 9-1-1 on November 9, and said that he just shot his wife Virginia in the head. Sanders would later explain to investigators that his wife had asked him to do so.
Sanders had been taking care of his wife for more than 40 years, due to health problems, starting with multiple sclerosis. Before the shooting, Virginia had been diagnosed with gangrene in her leg, and she apparently needed to have some of her toes cut off. Then, she was to be put in a nursing home, which Virginia thought was a "virtual death sentence" according to the MCAO.
After Virginia insisted that Sanders shoot and kill her, he did -- "murder," as County Attorney Montgomery claims to see it, although a sentence of probation says otherwise...something about eating your cake, but still having the cake.