Green Bay Woman Gets Two Years In Jail
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ A hospice worker who said she smothered a deaf and mute cancer patient with a pillow because he begged her to was sentenced to two years in prison.
Donna Trautman, 59, broke into tears as Brown County Circuit Judge Donald Zuidmulder read the sentence Tuesday.
``I saw him pray for God to take him home,″ she said before the sentence was read. ``Those haunting pleas to help him die will stay with me for the rest of my life.″
Trautman, who pleaded no contest to a felony charge of assisting suicide, cared for Raymond Krerowicz, 66, for two years until his death April 23.
Relatives thought Krerowicz, who had prostate cancer, died of natural causes, until Trautman told police three weeks later she had held a pillow over his face until he died.
She said Krerowicz pleaded with her repeatedly to help him die because of his increasing pain.
Relatives did not believe Krerowicz told Trautman to kill him.
``She’s going to have to live with herself for the rest of her life, so she’s in her own prison on top of what she’s doing now,″ said Jim VandeHey, Krerowicz’s nephew.
Prosecutors charged Trautman with a lesser charge because of her cooperation and because of Krerowicz’s ailing condition. District Attorney John Zakowski called her sentence fair.
``You have to deter others from going down that slippery slope of taking life into one’s own hands,″ Zakowski said. ``The message overall is you can debate the moral issues but legally there is no room for discussion. It is wrong to take someone’s life.″