Man accused of killing wife dies in hospital


An 81-year-old Lincoln man accused of first-degree murder for shooting his wife who was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease died Thursday at a Lincoln hospital.

John Kotopka had pleaded not guilty and was at the Lancaster County Department of Corrections facility awaiting trial.


“While the cause of death has yet to be determined, Mr. Kotopka was being treated for a chronic medical condition,” according to a news release from the jail. 

As is the case whenever an inmate dies in custody, a grand jury will conduct an investigation.

In court records, police said Kotopka shot his wife, 78-year-old Janet Kotopka, at about 6:30 a.m. June 20 at their home at 1808 Dakota St.

A single shot woke the couple’s son, who called 911.

Rescue workers took Janet Kotopka to an area hospital, where she later died, and police arrested her husband, after he allegedly told investigators he was “exhausted and couldn’t take care of her any longer” and was concerned about the financial burden if she were to go to a health care facility.

Janet Kotopka had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about two years ago, and her health had deteriorated to a point that she had to be monitored constantly. 

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