Winona man who says he killed his wife due to Alzheimer’s sentenced to prison

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) — A Winona County man who claimed he killed his wife to spare her a life with Alzheimer’s disease was sentenced this week to more than 10 years in prison.

Joseph Bailly Wright, 80, was sentenced Wednesday by District Court Judge Mary C. Leahy to 128 months for the second-degree murder of his wife on July 10, 2020.

County Attorney Karin Sonneman praised the efforts of her staff, law enforcement and medical personnel stating, “Justice has been served for Klara Wright.”

Sonneman also expressed sympathy for Mrs. Wright’s children, who showed enormous strength as they dealt with an unimaginable tragedy.

Wright claimed he killed Klara because she had Alzheimer’s disease and he was putting her out of her misery. He asked to be placed on probation, saying it was an act of compassion.

Sonneman’s team argued that the way Wright killed Klara was “cruel and gruesome.” He hit her on the head with a large meat tenderizer and stabbed her twice in the abdomen, puncturing her lung and heart.

Klara Wright did have Alzheimer’s; however, the court stated in the sentencing, Joseph Wright had other options to get her help.

The Winona County Attorney’s Office wants the community to know that there are multiple resources  to help individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illness, and to help support their loved ones and caregivers.

In Minnesota, approximately 1 in 10 people are living with Alzheimer’s. The costs and challenges to families and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming. The Winona Friendship Center, which can be reached at 507-454-5212, provides information on the disease.