Akron doctor testifies in trial of John Wise, man charged with killing his wife inside hospital

AKRON, Ohio -

A doctor from Akron General Medical Center delivered dramatic testimony on Tuesday in the trial of John Wise, the Massillon man accused of murdering his wife inside the Neurointensive Care Unit in August of 2012.

Dr. Michael Passero was introducing himself to a different family when he heard "a single popping sound" coming from a few doors down.

Dr. Passero moved from room five to room one and saw Wise sitting on the bed of Barbara Wise, his wife of 45 years. Another staff member then noticed something alarming.

"Someone exclaimed, 'He's got a gun', and the other staff members left the room," Dr. Passero testified.

The doctor remained in the room and tried to keep John Wise calm.

"He turned to me and said, 'Please tell me she's dead.' I looked at her and I looked at the monitors and I said quietly, 'She's not dead.'"

Dr. Passero said the weapon, a 9-millimeter handgun, appeared to be jammed and John Wise continued to fidget with it when Barbara took a big gasp.

"Then he said, 'Oh God, she's still alive. How could she still be alive?'"

Throughout the ordeal, Dr. Passero tried to convince John Wise to put the gun down.

"He looked at me and said, 'I'm not going to shoot you.' And, so I said, 'I believe you, but I can't do anything to help until you put the gun down.'"

A short time later, hospital security entered the room and tackled John Wise.

Barbara Wise, 65, was later declared brain dead and passed away from injuries related to a gunshot wound to her left temple.

Dressed in a sport coat and mock turtleneck, John Wise, 68, had little reaction in the courtroom as the jury listened to the testimony.

The defense argues John Wise "wasn't in his right mind" at the time of the shooting and should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Barbara Wise suffered an aneurysm on July 28 and the shooting happened a week later. Akron police originally called it "a mercy killing."

However, the prosecution contends John Wise knew right from wrong and wasn't suffering a severe mental defect, and, therefore, should be convicted of aggravated murder or murder.

Ryan Rastorfer, an Akron police officer who responded to the hospital that night, also took the witness chair.

Before placing handcuffs in front of John Wise, another officer asked, "You're not going to do anything stupid, are you?"

According to Rastorfer, John Wise responded, "I already did something stupid, that stupid gun."

Testimony will resume on Wednesday morning. The trial should be finished by the end of the week.

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