Man charged with manslaughter after wife commits suicide

Willard Skellie 
By: Sanvi Rizvi 

A man was arrested and charged with manslaughter after his wife committed suicide with a gun that was kept in their home, according to police reports.

The New York man was hit with the manslaughter charge for his wife's suicide because he showed his wife how to shoot a gun before leaving her alone at home to go hunting, police officials said Tuesday.

Kathie Skellie, 59, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday morning, at the home she shared with her husband in Glens Falls, 45 miles north of Albany, Glens Falls Detective Sgt. Peter Casertino said.

Willard Skellie, 69, confessed to buying the 12-gauge shotgun, teaching his wife how to use it and letting her have it while he was out hunting, authorities said. He told police that she was depressed because of mental health problems, Casertino said.

Skellie was questioned and charged Sunday, with second-degree manslaughter after failing a lie detector test, police said. In a subsection of state law, the charge can occur if a person "intentionally causes or aids another person of committing suicide."

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan, said that the circumstances fit the subsection of second-degree manslaughter for assisting suicide.

Skellie was arrested Tuesday, and placed in the Warren County Jail on bail of $100,000.

Police said Skellie reported finding her dead in her room when he came home Saturday, after going hunting for a second day. He told police that she usually stayed in her room for long periods, Casertino said.

"It was not unusual for her to be in a room for a couple of days," he said. Casertino said that police began questioning him after inconsistencies in his story, and because the evidence found in the bedroom was misplaced.

Skellie was also charged with tampering with physical evidence after moving the gun allegedly used in the shooting and the elimination of a note that his wife had written detailing how to use the gun, based on his instructions, authorities said.