A California man was charged with murder on Friday in connection with the alleged “mercy killings” of his wife and his sister. Lance Anderson, 60, faces two counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and intentional discharge of a firearm with great bodily injury.
Anderson was arrested on Wednesday after he surrendered to officers at the Country Villa Sheraton nursing facility in Los Angeles. Fox News reports that authorities believe Anderson took a taxi from his home in Santa Clarita to the nursing facility, where his 58-year-old sister, Lisa Nave, was living. He allegedly shot her in the head while she was in her bed.
The alleged shooter then placed the small-caliber revolver on a nightstand and stepped into a courtyard, where he surrendered to police when they arrived. After learning of Nave’s death, family members asked Los Angeles County deputies to check on the welfare of Anderson’s wife, Bertha. Deputies arrived at the couple’s townhouse and discovered her body. Sheriff’s Lt. Holly Francisco said that no weapon was found at the scene.
Family members told authorities that Bertha Anderson was suffering from dementia. Police initially said that Nave was in a coma or vegetative state, but Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon stated that she was actually responsive and improving after a heart attack five years ago sent her into a yearlong coma.
Vernon characterized the shootings as apparent mercy killings, adding, “He unilaterally decided to kill two people for whatever seemed like a rational reason to him. But it isn’t right for those who want those people to live. He can’t make that decision.”
If convicted of the charges against him, Lance Anderson could face the death penalty.