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PHOENIX -- A Sun City man has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of his 73-year-old wife.

Maricopa County prosecutors said 78-year-old Howard Allen Rudolph entered his plea Thursday. His next scheduled court date is Oct. 9.

Rudolph was arrested Aug. 7 on suspicion of first-degree murder.

County Sheriff's officials said initial indications were that it was a mercy killing. They cited statements made by Rudolph about his wife being ill and what he wrote in a note found with a revolver at the home.

Deputies went to the couple's house in the Phoenix-area retirement community after the Sheriff's Office received a hang-up 911 call from the home.

They said Rudolph made incriminating statements after deputies found Earlene Rudolph dead in a bathroom with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

Associated Press,

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