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Updated Mar 19, 2013 - 4:19 pm

Sun City man facing prison in wife’s mercy killing

PHOENIX — A Sun City man accused of fatally shooting his ailing
81-year-old wife says she asked him to do it because she didn’t want to spend
the rest of her life in a nursing home.

“She never wanted to outlive me and be left at the mercy of someone else,”
George Sanders tells a Maricopa County Sheriff’s detective in an interrogation
video released Monday by authorities.

Sanders, who turns 86 on Sunday, could face either probation or up to 12 1/2
years in prison when he’s sentenced March 29.

He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter on Feb. 19 after
originally pleading not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.

Virginia “Ginger” Sanders was found shot in the head inside the couple’s home
last Nov. 9 and died two days later in a hospital.

George Sanders told authorities it was a “mercy killing” because his wife had
been suffering from multiple sclerosis for years and was in diminishing health
with a gangrene diagnosis on several of her toes.

He said she was about to be hospitalized and eventually placed in a nursing
home, where she thought she would die.

Sanders said he was her primary caregiver, but the World War II veteran’s
health was also in decline. Just days before the shooting, doctors installed a
pacemaker in his chest.

On the interrogation video filmed a few hours after the shooting and his
arrest, Sanders told the investigator that he didn’t want to kill his wife, but
she begged him to do it.

“I went and got the gun and she said, `Is this gonna hurt?’ And I said, `You
won’t feel anything,”’ Sanders said. “So I had the gun up against her head and
I had a rolled up towel so the bullet wouldn’t go somewhere in the kitchen.

“She was saying, `Do it. Do it. Do it.’ And I just let it go” and pulled the
trigger, Sanders said. “I don’t know if she’s alive or dead.”

In the video, George Sanders is then seen laying his head down on a table and
apparently sobbing.

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