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Nebraska man charged in fatal shooting of wife of 57 years

He told police he was struggling to care for her
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Posted at 1:41 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 14:41:25-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An 80-year-old Nebraska man who told police he shot his wife, who had Alzheimer's disease, because he was struggling to care for her is now facing murder charges.

Prosecutors upgraded the charges against John Kotopka to first-degree murder Wednesday following last week's death of 78-year-old Janet Kotopka. He had originally been charged with assault in the June 20 shooting at their home in Lincoln.

Court documents say Janet Kotopka had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease about two years ago and her health had deteriorated significantly. John Kotopka told investigators he was "exhausted and couldn't take care of her any longer."

Kotopka's attorney John Berry says the shooting is a horrible tragedy for the family but he declined to comment on details of the case.