An 85-year-old Sun City man arrested the shooting death of his ailing wife has been released from jail on $20,000 bond.
Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies arrested George Sanders after Friday night’s shooting of 81-year-old Virginia Sanders.
Court documents show George Sanders told deputies he shot his wife because she asked him to.
He first called Virginia’s caregiver to explain what he’d done and then called deputies. He told them his wife was sick and had recently been told that she needed to be hospitalized. He reportedly told deputies his wife was in pain and wanted him to shoot her. She died Sunday, officials said.
The prosecutor at his arraignment called the shooting a “mercy killing.”
Sanders was released on $20,000 bond on Monday. Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said the bond is set by the judge presiding at the initial appearance in court. The county attorney can request bond and release conditions, but the judge makes the decision.
“In most homicide cases, the state typically requests a bond of at least $100,000 to $1 million, depending on the threat to public safety posed by the suspect,” Cobb said. “In this particular case, the state requested a bond amount ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, arguing that the suspect posed no significant risk to the community, given his lack of any criminal history, the fact that he does not pose a flight risk, and the fact that the crime appears to have been some sort of attempted ‘mercy killing’ of his wife.”
Sanders is free and is scheduled to appear in court Friday and Nov. 20 for a pretrial hearing and arraignment, though Cobb said there are restrictions in place.
“His release conditions prohibit (Sanders) from possessing a weapon,” Cobb said.
Neighbors and friends of Sanders and his wife said they had a loving relationship.
“He was a very kind man, very good neighbors.” Arvis Van Klompenberg, a neighbor, said earlier this week. “He treated (her) with a lot of respect, and he would play the piano for her, play the guitar and sing to her.
“He would do whatever he could. He’d take her for a stroll in a stroller. He’s been very kind to her for many years.”
Van Klompenberg said Virginia Sanders had multiple sclerosis since 1971 and was wheechair-bound.
“He left golf to be with her, an avid golfer, a good golfer. He was very dedicated to her.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.