Terminally ill Pa. man, 79, who shot wife dies

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A terminally ill 79-year-old man has died in a Pittsburgh hospital where he had been under police guard since shooting his wife in what police first investigated as a possible mercy killing.

Pittsburgh police instead determined that Phillip Willett fatally shot his wife Catherine, also 79, because he apparently wanted her to accompany him in death. They say he tried to shoot himself, too, on Thursday, but his gun jammed.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Willett died Monday morning at UPMC Mercy hospital.

Police had yet to charge or question Willett – though they were sure of his role in the shooting – and the Allegheny County Jail would not accept him as a prisoner because he was terminally ill with throat cancer.

The victims’ two adult sisters were home during the shooting, but not harmed.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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