80-year-old kills wife of 57 years because she had Alzheimer’s, Nebraska cops say

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Janet Kotopka’s son awoke early Sunday morning to an ear-piercing crack, and in the living room of his parent’s house he found his mother with a gunshot to the head, news outlets reported.

He dialed 911, and first responders took the 78-year-old to a nearby hospital where she was listed in critical condition, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. She died Wednesday morning.

Her husband, John Kotopka, 80, was arrested Sunday, accused by police of pulling the trigger, according to the newspaper.

It’s reportedly not a claim he’s disputing.

Police said Kotopka admitted to shooting his wife of 57 years in the head with a handgun, but said her Alzheimer’s drove him to it, the Omaha World Herald reported. Janet was diagnosed about two years prior, and as her mind deteriorated she eventually became unable to look after herself, requiring constant supervision and assistance, he allegedly told officers.

Kotopka said he considered housing her in a care facility, but worried the financial burden would be too great, the outlet reported.

He allegedly told investigators he was “exhausted,” according to the Omaha World Herald, and “couldn’t take care of her any longer.”

According to police, Kotopka said he had been seriously thinking about killing her for at least 10 days before he finally did, News Channel Nebraska reported.

Kotokpa is charged with first degree assault, and use of a deadly weapon, according to the outlet. So far, authorities have not announced any new charges following Janet Kotopka’s death Wednesday.

In 2020, there were nearly 6 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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