“She didn’t want to live like this”: Bond denied for elderly man accused of killing ill wife of 40 years in nursing home

"This is probably the saddest crime scene I’ve been involved with...”
70-yr-old Thomas Ballenger has been charged with killing his wife at a Clinton nursing home....
70-yr-old Thomas Ballenger has been charged with killing his wife at a Clinton nursing home. Source: CPD
Updated: Dec. 12, 2018 at 4:43 PM EST
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CLINTON, MS (WLBT) - An elderly man is charged with murder after he reportedly shot and killed his wife at the Trinity Mission nursing home in Clinton.

Clinton police say that 70-year-old Thomas Ballenger has been charged with murder in the death of 70-year-old Rebecca Ballenger.

According to Lt. Josh Frazier with the Clinton Police Department, a 911 call came in around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday after a shooting at the nursing home.

WATCH LIVE: Clinton police are holding a press conference on possible mercy killing at a Clinton nursing home>>https://bit.ly/2rzu5dP

Posted by WLBT 3 On Your Side on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

When police got to the scene, they were able to take the suspect, Thomas Ballenger, into custody immediately.

Frazier said nothing unusual happened at the nursing home prior to the shooting, but the facility did go on lock-down following the shooting.

According to Frazier, Rebecca Ballenger suffered a stroke about a month ago and was rehabbing in the facility.

Thomas and Rebecca had been married over 40 years and were described as each other’s shadows.

Thomas Ballenger told investigators that he was depressed and harbored a significant amount of guilt for his wife’s illness.

While Lt. Frazier said he wouldn’t describe this as a “mercy killing”, he did say that the victim had made statements that she didn’t want to live like this.

“I’ve been to a lot of crime scenes in 20 years and this is probably the saddest crime scene I’ve been involved with,” said Lt. Frazier.

Lt. Frazier says that the family is in shock, but they believe that possibly in Thomas Ballenger’s mind, he was doing the right thing.

Chief Cleotha Sanders with the Jackson Fire Department released a statement Wednesday, sending their condolences to the family.

“To the family of Thomas and Rebecca Ballenger, this family has suffered a great loss," she said."On behalf of Fire Chief, Willie G. Owens and the entire Jackson Fire Department, we are so very sorry for your loss. Our condolences and prayers are with the entire family at this time.”

It has been confirmed that Ballenger is retired from JFD.

According to Mark Jones with the City of Clinton, Ballenger’s bond was denied on Wednesday.

This is the first homicide in Clinton in over three years.

We will continue to update this developing story.

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