A St. Petersburg man accused of smothering his ill wife last year went on trial on Tuesday.
Albert Crandall, 56, faces one count of second-degree murder. If convicted as charged, he faces a sentence ranging roughly from 21 years to life in prison, prosecutors say.
Crandall is accused of suffocating his wife, Judith Lee Davis, 61, at the apartment they shared at Palmway Village apartments, 661 77th Ave. N., in April 2012. Then he tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists but survived.
He sent his sister an email on April 21, saying he and Judith were going to “depart from this world,” but his sister didn’t read it until the following day. Once she did, she called 911 and rushed over, according to police reports.
The sister, Marlea Roberts, told St. Petersburg police her sister-in-law had bipolar disorder and suffered from a severe intestinal problem that caused her to lose weight, reports say. When Roberts last saw her sister-in-law, three days before the email was sent, Davis was 80 to 90 pounds, her stomach was bloated and she was in severe pain.
Roberts also told police her brother was overwhelmed by caring for his wife and had lost several jobs as a result. Judith did not have any medical insurance, and the medical bills were piling up, she told police.
Among the witnesses to testify this week during Crandall’s trial are a St. Petersburg firefighter and a doctor at St. Anthony’s Hospital, where Crandall was treated after slashing his wrists. He told them he killed his wife because she had been in a lot of pain.
The trial is expected to last two to three days.