VALHALLA, N.Y. - Earlier this year, 70-year-old Ann DeLucia suffered a stroke while undergoing treatment for a massive heart attack. She underwent months of therapy at Burke Rehabilitation Center and finally returned to her Molly Pitcher Lane condo last month.
Soon after being reunited with her husband, Richard, she suffered a fall and broke her neck. Doctors at Westchester Medical Center told Richard there was nothing more they could do, and that her next stop would be a nursing home.
“He had made a promise to my aunt, Ann, that he would never put her in a nursing home,” said Dena DeLucia, niece of Ann and Richard.
Richard DeLucia, 71, distraught over his wife’s condition and intent on keeping his promise, killed Ann in her hospital bed on Wednesday, Aug. 8, according to Westchester County Police. He then turned the gun on himself.
“I think he just wanted to keep his word,” Dena said. “He didn’t want to put her where she didn’t want to go, and he didn’t want her to go alone.”
The two shots were fired on the fourth floor of Westchester Medical Center around 9:39 a.m. Nobody else was in the room. Within two minutes, a Westchester County police officer and two plainclothes officers arrived and entered the room with hospital security.
There, they discovered Ann had been shot in her bed. Her husband, Richard, along with his licensed .38-caliber revolver, were on the floor, according to police.
Richard, in a note later discovered at their Jefferson Village residence, said he wanted to end his wife's suffering.
“He left a note just saying his wife was suffering and he was distraught about that,” said Kieran O'Leary, spokesman for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.
The couple, married for nearly five decades, moved to Yorktown just two years ago, according to Westchester County records.
Richard, a Vietnam veteran, married Ann shortly after leaving the service, their niece said. They lived on Hardy Place in Yonkers and had one son, Richie. Years later, they sold their Yonkers house and moved to Valhalla, where they lived for many years.
For about 15 years beginning in 1988, Richard owned the Manor House, now known as Westchester Manor, in Hastings-on-Hudson. The Manor House hosted large gatherings, such as weddings, celebrations and other functions.
Several years ago, the couple moved to North Carolina to be closer to Ann’s family, Dena said. Homesick, the couple moved back to Westchester in 2016.
Prior to Ann’s medical issues, Richard lost his only brother, John, who died on Jan. 21. John’s wife died six weeks ago.
Dena said Ann was “the love of his life” and they were inseparable. She said Richard visited her in the hospital every day.
“She was a petite thing with a quiet voice and just a sweet soul,” Dena said. “Wherever he was, she was.”
She described her uncle as a quiet, well-manicured and well-dressed gentleman whose favorite activity was gardening.
“This was so out of character for him,” Dena said. “We’re all in shock over this.”
Thomas Gleason, Westchester County police commissioner, thanked the Westchester Medical Center staff, his police officers, Mount Pleasant police, Greenburgh police and New York State Police for their response.