911 Call released from Sun City 'mercy killing'

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

SUN CITY, Ariz. -- A Sun City man accused of killing his wife was arraigned Wednesday on a murder charge.

The 911 call was just released to 3TV.

911 Operator:  "911 Emergency."

George Sanders:  "Yes. My name is Sanders. I just shot my wife."

911 Operator:  "Where at sir?"

George Sanders: "In the head."

Prosecutors are calling the 911 caller, 85-year-old George Sanders, a murderer.

Others are calling Sanders a compassionate and loving husband.

911 Operator: "Did you shoot her on purpose?"

George Sanders:  "Yes, because they were going to take her to the hospital.  And then, she's 81-years-old.  And she has gangrene in her feet, in her right foot. She has M.S. She has wounds and she just didn't want to go and she said,'Shoot me, just Shoot me.'"

The deadly shooting happened earlier this month.

Sanders pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.

“This is a very tragic story; it has great sadness,” Tom Henze, Sanders’ attorney, told 3TV. 

“He’s very sad for a lot of different reasons.  That sadness is something he and his family are dealing with,"he said.

Henze says Sanders’ family has been supportive of Sanders since the shooting occurred. He described his client as an attentive husband whose wife was very ill, in pain and anguish.

“This is really a love story,” said Henze.  “It’s really a long, long love story that has a very sad, final chapter.

The prosecutor has called this a mercy killing.

County attorney Bill Montgomery said Wednesday a criminal act was committed.

“There is no exception within our laws for quote un-quote mercy killing. There is no such defense,” said Montgomery. 

The county attorney also said he won't tell prosecutors they have to go to trial and added he’s never told them what to do in the past.

He went on to say he watched his mother die of lung cancer and she was in pain, but the laws are the laws and must be followed.

Montgomery also said he has not spoken to his wife about what they would do if put in the same position as the Sun City couple.

Sanders could spend years defending an action many say was out of love.

911 Operator: "I don't want you to get that gun out."

George Sanders:  "I'm not going to get that gun out.  I'll never touch another gun as long as I live."

The husband went on to tell the operator his wife has been wheelchair bound for more than 40 years.

When the operator told him to go outside and wait for deputies he said he didn't want to leave his wife.