Police say man fatally shoots wife in northern Buckeye

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Police are investigating after a deadly shooting in the far northern reaches of Buckeye.

The incident happened Thursday afternoon near Beardsley Parkway and Canyon Springs Boulevard in the Sun City Festival area of Buckeye.

According to an email from Officer Donna Rossi, the Buckeye police 911 center received a call around 5:30 p.m. April 9 from a man who claimed he had just shot his wife because she had health issues. Police said he was also threatening to shoot himself.

The 72-year-old was given instructions prior to police arrival, including distancing himself from any weapons, according to court documents. Arriving officers found him unarmed outside of the home and arrested him without any problems, Ms. Rossi stated.

Police then entered the home and found a 69-year-old woman unresponsive with obvious signs of trauma. Buckeye Fire paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.

Court documents and police identified the 72-year-old as John Elwyn Smith. The county Medical Examiner website lists Jill Kay Smith as having died April 9.

"The defendant said there were numerous things weighing heavily on his and the victim's mind's lately, including health issues, financial burdens, and how to deal with those financial burdens," court documents state. "The defendant said the victim may have needed a knee replacement after having already had several of them. He said the stress from being couped up in the house and not being able to leave, due to the corona virus, was also getting to him."

Court documents state the Mr. Smith allegedly shot his wife of 49 years while she was asleep. He reportedly told police that he was going to kill himself but didn't because no one would be able to explain what happened.

"The defendant made statements acknowledging that he shot and killed his wife, and that he has to pay for it and theres no need to lie about it," records state.

Mr. Smith was booked into jail in lieu of $100,000 bond on one count of first-degree murder.

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