Mercy killing likely in elderly couple's murder-suicide

BOXVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Autopsies have confirmed that an elderly couple in Kentucky was a murder-suicide, and the coroner believes it was probably a "mercy killing."

Union County Coroner Stephen Shouse says 73-year-old Garland Springer likely shot his wife, 68-year-old Jane Springer to end her "insurmountable pain" from a disabling illness. The coroner says Garland Springer then turned the gun on himself.

Neighbors say she was a well-respected elementary school teacher and he was a former coal miner.

Local news organizations report that the couple's bodies were found Tuesday in their home near Boxville. The autopsies were performed Wednesday at the Western Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office in Madisonville.

The Union County Sheriff's Office and the Union County Coroner's Office continue to investigate.