Contact Karin Sonneman, Winona County Attorney
Website http://www.co.winona.mn.us/page/2451 FOR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 22, 2021 STATE V. JOSEPH BAILLY WRIGHT WINONA COUNTY DISTRICT COURT SENTENCING IN MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE CASE Winona, Minnesota, 1BJuly 22, 2021– Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman announced that 80 year- old Joseph Bailly Wright, was sentenced late in the afternoon on July 21, 2021, by the Honorable Mary C. Leahy, Judge of District Court, to serve 128 months in prison for the murder of his wife on July 10, 2020. County Attorney Sonneman praised the efforts of her staff, law enforcement and medical personnel stating, “Justice has been served for Klara Wright.” Sonneman also stated that our sympathies go to Mrs. Wright’s children who showed enormous strength as they dealt with an unimaginable tragedy. Mr. Wright had claimed that he killed his wife because she had Alzheimer’s disease and he was putting her out of her misery. Mr. Wright had asked to be placed on probation for the offense because he claimed it was an act of compassion. The State’s request at sentencing was for the 128 months in prison. The State argued that the manner in which Mr. Wright killed his wife was cruel and gruesome. Mr. Wright had hit his wife on her head with a large meat tenderizer and then stabbed her twice in the abdomen, puncturing her lung and heart. Mrs. Wright did have Alzheimer’s, but as the Court stated at sentencing, Mr. Wright had options to ask for help rather than kill his wife. The Winona County Attorney’s Office wants the community to know that there are multiple resources in our community to help those individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illness, and to help support their loved ones and caregivers. In Minnesota, approximately 1 in 10 people are living with Alzheimer’s. The costs and challenges to families and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming. Attached to this press release is a letter that the Winona County Attorney’s Office submitted in the Wright sentencing. It is from Malia Fox, Director of the Winona Friendship Center who notes that it is important to get the word out that there are supports in our community, as well as state and national information and services to help caregivers, families and loved ones of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of age-related dementia. “Over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors say that number will likely rise to epidemic proportions as younger baby boomers enter their 60 and 70’s. The cruelest aspect of dementia related illness like Alzheimer’s is the stigma that surrounds it. Feelings of shame or hopelessness can cause people to resist getting diagnosed, or to refuse treatment. Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is a lot that people can do to delay symptoms and improve their quality of life. If people know about these, we could significantly save treatment costs, and we could save lives. According to the Global Council on Brain Health, these six key behaviors can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and ease the course of the disease: Maintaining social ties; Challenging the brain; Managing stress; Exercising regularly; Eating right; Getting restorative sleep. For more information on building and preserving memory and cognition, visit aarp.org/brainhealth. A healthy lifestyle alone doesn’t resolve the challenges that dementia poses for patients and their families. AARP offers an online resource center (aarp.org/caregiving) for those caring for vulnerable loved ones. In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, AARP created the Community Resource Finder (communityresourcefinder.org) with links to medical services and other kinds of assistance for dementia patients and caregivers.“ Entire quote from AARP Magazine February/March 2021 page 60.