London, KY — A Kentucky man charged with killing his cancer-stricken wife said he shot her because she asked him to “end her pain.”
Ernest Chris Chumbley admitted that he shot his wife, Virginia, but that it wasn’t murder. The 44-year-old was suffering from terminal breast cancer at the time of her death.
The 48-year-old called police around 2:30 am Wednesday and told them that he shot his wife.
“Hello… I just shot my wife,” Chumbley said when he called 911. “Give me police. I’m under arrest.”
Chumbley was waiting in the living room when deputies arrived. They found his wife dead in their bedroom with two gunshot wounds. He allegedly used a.32 handgun in the shooting. Chumbley was arrested without incident and was being held on $200,000 bond.
“She told me she wanted me to end her pain. All I said [was] ‘Jay, all I’ve got is what the doctor gave you,'” Chumbley told Fox Lexington from his cell. “She said ‘No, I want you to stop my pain for good.'”
Neighbors said the couple had been happily married for over 20 years, but that Virginia Chumbley’s breast cancer had taken a toll on her health.
“She was hurting real bad. We could hear her at night like she was gasping for air,” neighbor Stanley Campbell said. “The only reason I could think he shot her is she probably asked him to, because she was hurting so bad.”
That’s exactly what happened, according to Chumbley, who said his wife’s death was a mercy killing.
“I just did what she asked,” he said. “And I would expect no different from her if I was asking her.”
Laurel County police are still investigating the incident and collecting interviews. Ernest Chumbley pleaded not guilty in Laurel County District Court and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing September 5.