Trial begins for Black Diamond man charged with the death of his mother

Black Diamond resident Christopher Wise was expected to be in King County Superior Court Monday for the beginning of a trial that will determine if he was guilty in the death of his bedridden mother.

The 42-year-old Wise is charged in the 2009 death of 88-year-old Ruby Wise. The King County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Wise with first-degree manslaughter/domestic violence and second-degree murder/domestic violence. The second charge was added recently as an alternative to the original charge, which was leveled when Wise was arrested in June 2009.

Wise pleaded not guilty April 2 in King County Superior Court. His attorney asked that the trial be continued to a later date, but a judge denied the motion.

According to a certificate of probable cause issued by the prosecutor’s office, Wise called 911 at 12:23 a.m. June 16 to report the death of his mother. The call came from the home they shared in the 27400 block of Green River Gorge Road.

King County Sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel found the emaciated woman with her facial bones, shoulders and rib bones visible under her skin.

Deputies also noted bruising and multiple open bed sores. Her left shoulder bone was exposed through one of the sores.

The probable cause document stated the deputies observed she appeared “emaciated with no real apparent muscle or fatty mass. She was wearing a soiled adult diaper.”

In the document Wise stated he was his mother’s “sole caretaker and that he had been taking care of Ruby for the past 10 years.”

The son told authorities he noticed his mother’s health had been declining for two weeks, “and that he knew she was dying. Chris stated that his mother wanted to die at home.”

The son told investigators his mother had not seen a doctor in two years.

The autopsy report noted Ruby Wise had “eight significant extremely deep pressure ulcers on her body. Some of the ulcers were so deep that some of (her) bones were exposed to the air and could visibly be seen.”

The autopsy report determined her cause of death was “attributed to the pressure ulcers on her body from the rotting skin and other complications from these injuries.”

Christopher Wise was initially arrested June 17, 2009, and charged with first degree manslaughter.

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