A Lincoln man who told police that he shot his 78-year-old wife in the head because she had advanced Alzheimer’s disease has been charged with first-degree murder.
John C. Kotopka, 80, initially was charged with first-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. The Lancaster County attorney announced Thursday that the charge of assault has been amended to first-degree murder. The weapon charge was dismissed.
Kotopka told the officers that his wife Janet, who he said had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about two years ago, had become extremely combative with him and other caregivers when they tried to help her with her basic needs.
According to a statement in his case file, Kotopka said his wife needed to be monitored constantly. He said he was “exhausted and couldn’t take care of her any longer.” Kotopka also said he was concerned about the financial burden if she had to be housed in a health care facility.
Janet Kotopka was taken to a Lincoln hospital about 6:30 a.m. June 20 with a gunshot wound to her head. She died three days later, Lincoln police said.
John Kotopka is being held on $500,000 bail and must pay 10%, or $50,000, to be released.
Investigators interviewed multiple people at the family home near 17th and Van Dorn Streets, including a relative who called 911 after he found Janet Kotopka with a gunshot wound.