Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

June 26, 2011

USA: Elderly man who killed his wife dies awaiting sentencing

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania / / The Daily Delco / June 22, 2011

Stephanie Farr

Ernest Rayfield will never be sentenced by anyone on this earth for stabbing his 87-year-old wife to death.

Rayfield, 89, died this weekend while awaiting sentencing in Delaware County Court for the slaying of his wife, Mary Agnes, last year.

The elderly couple had been together for 63 years but towards the end, Mary suffered from Alzheimer's disease. When questioned by police following the slaying at the couple's Springfield home on Aug. 29, Ernest Rayfield said he just "couldn't take it anymore" and had stabbed his wife several times in the chest.

He was charged with murder and related offenses but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in December. Several days later, a judge allowed Rayfield to be released on bail in to the care of his son until his first scheduled sentencing on Feb. 22.

That sentencing was continued until May and, then again, until September 20.

Michael Mattson, spokesman for the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, said the prosecutor on the case is awaiting a copy of Rayfield's death certificate. Once that is received, the prosecutor will ask that the case be nolle prossed, or not prosecuted, and thus, dropped.

"You can't prosecute someone when they're dead," Mattson said.

Rayfield's attorney did not immediatley return calls for comment.

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