SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A retired firefighter was sentenced Wednesday to two days in jail and three years of probation after pleading guilty to aiding his wife's suicide at a state park in San Luis Obispo County last month.
George Taylor, 86, has already served the jail time after he revealed the couple had planned to kill themselves for years, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune (http://bit.ly/U1OyC2 ).
The retired firefighter was initially charged with murder, but San Luis Obispo County prosecutors reduced it to a count of aiding and abetting a suicide.
Taylor said it was his 81-year-old wife, Gewynn, who finally decided last December the time was right. He was arrested after her body was discovered in the back seat of his car by a ranger in Montana De Oro State Park on Dec. 10.
"'We had a pact. A suicide pact,'" Taylor told the ranger, according to a sheriff's report. He added that he and his wife were healthy but had been extremely depressed.
Taylor told the ranger he put a plastic bag over his wife's head and cinched it around her neck, then slashed his wrists and neck and tried to suffocate himself, the sheriff's report states. Despite the injuries, he survived.
Taylor's attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu told The Associated Press that his client will no longer have to undergo court-ordered counseling, and he is not believed to be a threat to himself any longer.
"They were both just deep lovers," said Funke-Bilu, who cited extraordinary community support for the Taylors, who were a fixture at public meetings and well known in Los Osos.
"The courtrooms were always populated by supporters," he said. "They've been an integral part of the community for so many years and so well known that I think the judge realized what kind of person he is."