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Police: Upstate NY man helped wife commit suicide

Tuesday - 12/18/2012, 2:10pm  ET

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - A New York man was charged with manslaughter in his wife's suicide because he showed the despondent woman how to fire a shotgun before leaving her alone in their upstate home to go hunting, authorities said Tuesday.

Kathie Skellie, 59, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday morning at the home she shared with her husband in Glens Falls, 45 miles north of Albany, said Glens Falls Detective Sgt. Peter Casertino.

Willard Skellie, 69, confessed to buying the 12-gauge shotgun, teaching his wife how to use it and leaving it loaded while he went hunting, authorities said. He told police she was despondent because of mental health problems, Casertino said.

Skellie was questioned and charged Sunday with second-degree manslaughter after failing a lie-detector test, police said. Under a subsection of state law, the charge can be brought if a person "intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide."

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan told The Post-Star of Glens Falls, which first reported the arrest, that the circumstances fit the second-degree manslaughter subsection for aiding suicide.

Skellie was being held Tuesday in Warren County Jail on $100,000 bail. It couldn't be determined if he had a lawyer.

Police said Skellie reported finding her dead in her bedroom when he arrived home Saturday after going hunting for the second day in a row. He told police she typically stayed in her room for long periods, Casertino said.

"It wasn't unusual for her to be in a room for a couple of days," he said.

Casertino said police began questioning him after inconsistencies arose in his story and because evidence found in the bedroom was out of place.

Skellie was also charged with tampering with physical evidence for allegedly moving the gun used in the shooting and removing a note his wife had written that detailed how to use the gun, based on his instructions, authorities said.

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Information from: The Post-Star, http://www.poststar.com


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)