Elderly man accused of killing his wife in possible mercy killing

Posted at 10:28 AM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 11:28:41-05

CLINTON, MS (WLBT) - An elderly man is suspected of killing his wife at the Trinity Mission nursing home in Clinton.

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.

When police got to the scene, they were able to take the suspect into custody immediately. He has been identified as 70-year-old Thomas Ballenger.

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, the woman, 70-year-old 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.

There is no bond at this time, but Ballenger has an initial hearing Wednesday.

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.

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

We will continue to update this developing story.

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