Carson City District Attorney dismisses William Dresser murder charges |

Carson City District Attorney dismisses William Dresser murder charges

William Dresser

The Carson City District Attorney made a motion Thursday afternoon to dismiss murder charges for William Dresser.

Dresser was charged with open murder with the use of a deadly weapon in January 2014 for the murder of his wife, Frances Dresser, after fatally shooting her. Frances had been in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a severed spinal cord from a fall in her home. She had expressed interest in committing suicide to friends and medical professionals after receiving the prognosis she would be a quadriplegic the rest of her life, according to the motion to dismiss.

On Jan. 19, 2014, William shot his wife in the chest in the Carson-Tahoe Medical Center, and pleaded with staff “please let her die, she wants to die,” said the motion. It was suspected William was going to shoot himself as well, but his gun jammed.

The District Attorney’s office dismissed the charge due to lack of malice intent due to the fact that William believed he did the act out of compassion and because Frances had asked on several occasions for her life to be ended. The District Attorney, Jason Woodbury, said that believed, based on the victim’s wishes not to live anymore, that she wouldn’t want her husband to be persecuted on these charges.

“That insoluble bond between evil and murder is what makes this case so difficult at first glance and so simple upon reflection,” reads the motion to dismiss.

“William Dresser killed his wife, but he is not a murderer. He saw his wife of 63 years immobile in a hospital bed paralyzed from the neck down, suffering with no hope of improvement, face a short existence not remotely resembling a life she cared to live. So he ended that life. He ended that suffering.”

Another reason behind the dismissal was the financial burden of imprisoning William. Besides the financial costs of a murder case, which is more than $200,000, William had been suffering from prostate cancer and treatment would cost the state and taxpayers between $72,000-$96,000 to have the necessary medications in prison.

The motion to dismiss said this was a difficult and unique circumstance and there was no general policy decision legitimizing assisted suicide that has been intended with the dismissal.