A former Bear Lake County doctor has been sentenced to serve at least three years in prison for fatally shooting his wife in the chest in an alleged failed "suicide pact."

Robert Degnan, 89, of Montpelier, has been handed a three to 11-year prison sentence on Thursday, Oct. 7, after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting and killing of his wife, 79-year-old Marjorie Degnan that happened on Sept. 6, 2020, East Idaho News reported.

Degnan was initially charged with first-degree murder, however, as part of a plea agreement, the rap was lowered to manslaughter. The plea agreement originally stipulated that Degnan would be placed on probation while living in a Pocatello assisted living facility. However, Degnan violated the terms of his pre-trial release, following which District Judge Mitchell Brown decided to send him to prison.

On Sept. 6, 2020, law enforcement rushed to Degnan's home south of Montpelier after they received a 911 call from the accused. When the officers reached the house, they reportedly found Degnan's wife lying unresponsive on the ground dead. Degnan told the officers that the couple had planned to commit suicide together that day. He claimed that the force of the gunshot blinded him and caused him to lose the firearm before he could shoot himself, according to The Herald-Journal.

When questioned further regarding the tragic incident, Degnan told the authorities that he and his wife had planned a joint suicide about six months ago and that they had not shared their intentions with anybody else. He alleged that the suicide plan involved him shooting Marjorie first because she had never handled a gun before.

Degnan further related that he had a "wasting" disease that caused him to lose weight and muscle and that “he just didn’t want to live” anymore. He also claimed that six weeks before the shooting, he endured a major convulsion during a medical episode, lost most of his eyesight, and could only see out of a small spot in his left eye.

Degnan received a unified sentence of 12 years in prison. Out of the 12 years, he must serve at least three years in jail before being eligible for parole. In addition to the 12-year sentence, he was also ordered to pay $1,600 in fines and about $2,400 in restitution, as well as court and attorney costs.

Robert Degnan, 89, a former Bear Lake County doctor, has been sentenced to serve at least three years in prison for fatally shooting his wife in the chest in an alleged failed suicide pact. Caribou County Jail

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