Canfield Enters Plea
Three-year prison sentence likely
On Oct. 26, 2014, Jerry C. Canfield, 73, turned himself in to the Alameda Police Department (APD) and admitted to shooting his wife, Joann, in the head. He told police that he brought Joann from her nursing home to the couples’ home on the 2200 block of Clinton Avenue. He said that when an attempt to take her life using sleeping pills failed, he laid his wife in bed, placed a vase with dozen red roses by her side and shot her. He then drove to APD and turned himself in.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s office charged him with murder. On Jan. 16 Canfield pled not guilty to that charge. At that hearing, Drew Steckler, Canfield’s public defender, asked that Alameda County Superior Court Judge Alfred Delucci release Canfield on his own recognizance. Neighbors who testified in Delucci’s courtroom called Canfield’s actions a “mercy killing.”
It is unusual to set bail in a murder case, but Delucci tempered his decision by stating that he set bail because so many of Canfield’s friends and neighbors testified on his behalf.
Current California law, however, makes no provision for mercy killings. “Nothing condones, authorizes, or approves mercy killing or permits an affirmative act or omission to end life other than the withholding of health care pursuant to a durable power of attorney,” the law states.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s office countered Steckler’s request by asking Delucci to set bail at $100,000 bail because Canfield had used a firearm. DeLucci agreed with the DA, and Canfield has remained incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Steckler told Delucci that Canfield had an agreement with his wife that he would end her suffering from chronic pain.
Last Friday Canfield appeared in court and entered a no-contest plea to the reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Canfield is scheduled to appear before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon for sentencing on Jan. 14, 2016. In the plea deal he reached with the DA, Canfield should receive a three-year prison sentence.
Contact Dennis Evanosky at email@example.com.