KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Authorities say that an elderly man killed his wife and then tried to kill himself at their south Kansas City home on Wednesday morning.
The incident happened just before 7:00 a.m. in a home near Wyandotte Street and Red Bridge Road. Police say the husband, identified as 93-year-old Harry Irwin, remains hospitalized in intensive care. Prosecutors have charged him with second-degree murder.
The victim is identified as Grace P. Irwin, 95. The couple lived alone in the house.
“Given the facts, a murder charge was warranted,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker in a statement released on Wednesday evening. “No victim deserves someone else deciding when they will die.”
The alleged murder left the couple’s neighbors stunned. One woman in tears told FOX 4 that she loved the elderly couple, while another neighbor described the couple as gracious and friendly. But some also say they noticed the woman had suffered from health problems in recent years, and her husband was doing his best to take care of her. A relative called 911 reporting that the couple was dead inside the house. Officers say that they found Grace Irwin dead, but her husband was still breathing.
An apparent suicide note was found on a nearby table which, according to court documents, indicated that Harry Irwin killed his wife and then tried to kill himself.
According to court documents, paramedics say that Harry Irwin had a number of apparently self-inflicted knife wounds on his wrists, and had stabbed himself in the chest “to the hilt.”
The documents go on to say a nurse at the hospital reported that Harry Irwin said that his wife had been arguing and screaming at him all night, and he “couldn’t take it anymore.” Irwin then allegedly said that he didn’t remember what he hit his wife with, but he said that he, “Did her in.”
Neighbors say the couple’s children often visited to help them with their home. Jim Turner moved on the block in September and says the husband was a good neighbor, loaning him a shovel when he needed to do some yard work.
“It causes me to reflect that we need a good health care system, that can help people to deal with illnesses promptly,” Turner said. “We need good mental health care. I was impressed by President Obama’s inauguration speech about the need to take care of others in our community.”