Police: Husband assisted wife's suicide; now charged with manslaughter

Posted at: 12/17/2012 4:47 PM
Updated at: 12/17/2012 6:25 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

GLENS FALLS - He's 69-years old and he's facing a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.

Glens Falls Police say Willard Francis Skellie of Leonard Street, assisted in his wife's suicide.

Kathy Skellie, who would've turned 59 on Christmas, took her own life over the weekend. According to police, she used the shotgun that her husband bought for her and showed her how to use.

"That type of action that was involved in this case, fits under the manslaughter charge," said Glens Falls Police Chief Will Valenza.

Skellie told police that his wife suffered from mental illness and was in her room, 24 hours a day, every day.

According to court documents obtained by NewsChannel 13, Skellie told police, "She is in mental pain. She just couldn't take it any more.

He also told police, "For about a week, my wife had been asking to buy a gun. She wanted to kill herself."

Police say Skellie went to a Lake Luzerne gun store and spent $245 on a shotgun.  He also bought some bird shot. "I got my wife the gun because I wanted to help her deal with her pain," he told police.  "I taught my wife how to use the gun so she would know how to use it to kill herself."

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan hopes to strike the right balance between justice and compassion, pointing out that Skellie didn't endanger the public.

"This is an extremely tragic situation. His wife was suffering with mental health issues," said Hogan. "She wanted to die and he facilitated it. It was between the two of them without any innocent bystander."

Willard Skellie is being held in the Warren County Jail.