Doctor, 76, Says He Strangled Ill Wife to End Suffering
A 76-year-old retired physician was arraigned on murder and spouse abuse charges in the death of his ailing wife, who he claims to have strangled to stop her suffering.
Harry Banoff, wan and unshaven, listened in court Wednesday as prosecutor Don Shearer attacked his claim that his wife of 47 years, Alice, begged him to kill her. The case has “all the elements of premeditation and deliberation,” Shearer said.
According to police documents, Banoff described kneeling over his wife on the floor, gripping her throat with one hand and clamping the other over her nose and mouth. Alice Banoff fought for air as her husband kissed her and clenched her throat until the struggling stopped, the police report says.
“Harry said that he told Alice he was doing this out of love, to stop the suffering,” police reported after Banoff confessed.
Banoff told investigators he did it only after an overdose of painkillers he gave her failed.
“I shut off her breathing because the pills weren’t doing it,” he said during a two-hour interrogation. Shearer described evidence that Alice Banoff had clawed her husband’s hands.