Alameda man gets 3 years for shooting wife in mercy killing

File photo of a jail cell.

OAKLAND (BCN) — A 73-year-old Alameda man was sentenced today to three years in state prison for fatally shooting his wife in October 2014 in what he said was an act of mercy because she was in constant pain.

Jerry Canfield was initially charged with murder for the shooting death of his 72-year-old wife Joann Canfield at the couple’s home in the 2200 block of Clinton Avenue on Oct. 26, 2014.

However, on Oct. 30 Canfield pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors that called for him to receive a three-year prison term.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes formally imposed that sentence today.

Canfield walked into the Alameda police station at about 6 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2014, and said he had killed his wife by shooting her in the head, according to police Lt. Jill Ottaviano.

Canfield “was very forthcoming” about the shooting and said he had planned it, Ottaviano said.

Alameda police Officer Alan Kuboyama wrote in a probable cause statement that Canfield told police that he and his wife “had previously agreed that if she ever became ill to the point of being in constant pain, he would kill her.”

When police went to the couple’s home they found Joann Canfield in her bed with a gunshot wound to the head, Kuboyama wrote.

Canfield’s lawyer George Arroyo said of his client today, “Everything he did, he did out of pure commitment for her (his wife) but he understood there would be consequences.”

Lisa Reed, Joann Canfield’s daughter and Jerry Canfield’s stepdaughter, said in a letter read aloud in court by Alameda County District Attorney’s Office victim-witness advocate Dena Aindow, said, “I have no ill feeling toward the defendant (Jerry Canfield) because I knew in my heart that he loved her and didn’t want her to suffer anymore.”

But Reed, who didn’t attend today’s hearing, said she was upset about the way that Jerry Canfield killed her mother and said she has had to undergo therapy to deal with it.

However, she said that when Canfield is released from prison, “I want him to know he can get his belongings from me and get on with his life.”

But she said, “He has to live with the image of what he did.”

Reed added, “My biggest regret is that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my mother.”

After the hearing, Aindow said Reed “has come to some terms with what happened but her heart is still broken.”

Canfield, who was dressed in a green-and-white striped jail uniform, didn’t speak at the sentencing hearing.

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