Man kills wife, self in Centreville hospital

Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Centreville — An elderly man and his wife are dead in what police are calling a mercy killing and suicide that occurred inside Field Memorial Community Hospital Monday night.

Thomas Edwin Denson, 82, entered his wife’s room at approximately 7:40 p.m. and shot her before turning the gun on himself and firing, Centerville Police Chief Jimmy Ray Reese said.

“His wife (Betty H. Denson, 83) had Alzheimer’s (disease),” Reese said. “She was getting worse with it and had no hope of it getting better, so it seems to be a mercy type deal.”

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Denson entered the hospital with a .38 revolver in his pocket. Reese said Field Memorial has no security checks for guns.

“Our entire hospital community is stunned and grieves for this family’s loss,” said Chad Netterville, CEO of Field Memorial, in a press release. “We are focused, right now, on care giving and providing counseling to members of our staff as they process this loss in their workplace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones who have suffered most in this sad situation.”

Reese said the hospital, the Amite County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations have cooperated fully in the investigation.

The Densons lived in Centreville.

The couple shared a birthday — April 15, one year apart — and now a death day.