CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — An elderly Nevada man who told police he shot his wife in a hospital to end her suffering will not face a potential death penalty for murder, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Carson City Assistant District Attorney Mark Krueger made the announcement at the onset of a brief initial court appearance for William Dresser.
"We are formally putting it on the record we are not seeking ... the death penalty," Krueger said. Under Nevada law, at least two defense lawyers with a background in death penalty cases must be appointed to represent a defendant if the death penalty is a possibility and the person is not represented by a public defender.
Dresser, 88, was charged with "open murder" for the death of his wife of 63 years. Frances Dresser, 86, was shot once in the chest Sunday while in her room in the rehabilitation ward at Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center. She died three days later.
Krueger said open murder encompasses a range of crimes, from first-degree murder to manslaughter, and gives prosecutors flexibility to decide the severity of charges to pursue as more details of the case become available.
Justice of the Peace John Tatro on Thursday appointed state Public Defender Karin Kreizenbeck to represent Dresser and set a preliminary hearing for Feb. 7.
William Dresser, wearing a black and gray striped jail shirt, appeared before the judge via video conference from jail.