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Man shoots sick wife in alleged 'mercy killing'

  • Ernest C. Chumbley says he killed his wife at her request
  • He spoke from jail about her painful battle with breast cancer
Man shoots sick wife in alleged 'mercy killing'

Ernest Chris Chumbley of London, Kentucky, openly admits to shooting his wife, and even called 911 Wednesday to report his actions. Now, he is facing murder charges for her death.

Chumbley, 48, has pleaded not guilty and says his wife, Virginia, wanted to die.

According to Chumbley, Virginia, 44, had been battling breast cancer for a few years. On Wednesday morning, Chumbley says she asked him to end the pain and take her life. He reportedly shot her multiple times with a handgun, killing her in their home.

In a tearful jailhouse interview with CNN affiliate WLEX, Chumbley says he didn't want to kill his wife, but he did anyway for her sake.

"She told me to end the pain, stop the pain," he said, weeping. "Did I want to do it? For her I did. No, I don't. No, I didn't want to do it."

In a separate interview with CNN affiliate WKYT, Chumbley says his wife was given pain pills for her condition, but they did not alleviate her suffering.

"I said, 'All I've got is what the doctors gave you, the medicine -- the pain pill,'" he told WKYT. "And she said, 'No. I've took enough of them. I want you to stop my pain for good.'"

After shooting his wife, Chumbley allegedly called 911 himself. The call is straightforward: "Yes, I've shot my wife," he tells the operator.

Chumbley is now being held at the Laurel County Detention Facility. A neighbor of the couple says the pair's long marriage was strong, and he wouldn't be surprised if Chumbley's story is true.

"We could hear [Virginia Chumbley] at night, it's like she was gasping for air," Stanley Campbell told WKYT. He elaborated to WLEX: "The only reason I could think he shot her is she probably asked him to, because she was hurting so bad."

Gilbert Acciardo, a spokesperson for the Laurel County Sheriff's Office, told WKYT that they are looking into the case.

"We're still investigating this, it's in its early stages... We are not going to speculate at this point as to what the circumstances of the shooting were," he said.

Despite the charges against him, Chumbley says he takes solace in the fact that he granted his wife's last wish.

"She ain't in pain now," he said. "She was a good woman, a very good woman."

Hear Chumbley's jailhouse account of the killing at WKYT.


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