After a year in jail, EMT asks for probation in wife's murder

Michael Whitehead
Michael Whitehead
Ashley Whitehead (Source: family photo)
Ashley Whitehead (Source: family photo)

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The high-profile case of a former EMT convicted of murdering his wife is back in the spotlight.

In the spring of 2010, Michael Whitehead was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for that crime.  He's served less than a year for the crime, and he could soon be a free man.  That's because he qualifies for what's called shock probation.

Under it, certain first time offenders can plea down from their current jail or prison time to go on probation. Both sides pleaded their case and gave strong testimony, but in the end, no one really came away with what they wanted.

"This is a tragedy from absolutely every standpoint," Defense attorney Dan Majors said in court while addressing Judge Irv Maze.

It all played out in a courtroom once and both sides are back at it again.  Michael Whithead pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and to stealing drugs and IV's from his work.

On Wednesday while he asked the judge for probation, he claimed it was to help his late wife Ashley deal with her Crohn's disease.

"During the course of Ashley's illness I tried the very best I could to help her and that wasn't enough and I made mistakes and those mistakes caused her to die," Whitehead said.

Ashley Whitehead went into cardiac arrest in March of 2009, never to recover.

"My actions were wrong and they were reckless and they've had terrible consequences but they had good intentions," Michael Whitehead said.

But the prosecution painted a different picture in court Wednesday.

"Her illness was that she had an addiction and he enabled that addiction from everything that we know," said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Tom Van De Fostyne.

Both the prosecution - and the victim's family - believe Whitehead crossed the lines by trying to play doctor.

"I believe he had her brainwashed that what the doctors were doing for her - he could do just as well and he ended up killing my daughter," said Tom Shanahan, the victim's father.

The families are dealing with those emotions for the second time this year, after the plea initial deal in February.

"When somebody makes an agreement to a plea deal, that's the deal that he made.  I believe there's some laws that need to be changed," Shanahan said.

But Michael's mother says his only intention was love.

"We know Michael's heart.  We know that Michael loves Ashley still.  We know that Michael didn't do this alone.  Ashley played a huge part in this," Michael's mom – Theresa Davis said.

Judge Maze only heard the case Wednesday, and given all the circumstances, he wanted to wait before making a ruling.

"It's very stressful.  I'm just grateful that he was granted the hearing because we didn't think he'd be granted the hearing," Davis said.

"Ashley's birthday was 2 days ago.  Two days after we're in court going all over it again," Shanahan said.

But within ten days, both families will know the judge's decision.

WAVE 3 News and will continue to follow this developing story.

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