A man accused of killing his 90-year-old wife in Foster City last year was acquitted by a San Mateo County Superior Court jury Monday after just five-and-a-half hours of deliberations.
Wayne Bair, now 95, was accused of stabbing his wife Helena Marie Bair in the neck on June 13, 2015, and then stabbing himself, but the jury found him not guilty of murder.
Charles Smith, one of Bair’s defense attorneys, said:
“The whole theory of the prosecution was murder and attempted suicide, but nothing fit. … She was not sick, physically or mentally, he was not sick.”
Prosecutors were unable to pinpoint a motive since the Bairs seemed like they had been happily married for more than 70 years and had no financial, physical or mental health problems.
“His devotion to this woman was unbelievable. … We had all kinds of love letters and poems he wrote to her. It’s an absolute storybook romance.”
On the night of the killing, Bair called 911 at 8:06 p.m. to report he was having difficulty breathing, prosecutors said.
When police responded, they found him lying on the floor next to his bed with cuts to his neck. His wife was on the bed with fatal stab wounds.
Bair told responding officers that someone had attacked him and his wife, according to Geoff Carr, another of his defense attorneys.
His memory of the event is poor, but he remembers trying to push someone off of him, then falling to the floor and passing out, Carr said.
He woke up to see wife with her neck cut, Carr said.
Carr said the front door to the couple’s home was unlocked on the night of the murder but nothing appeared to be taken from the home. He said the defense attorneys noted during the trial that there had been a similar burglary, around the same time last year, of another home in Foster City in which nothing was taken.
Bair, a decorated World War II veteran, had been held without bail in San Mateo County Jail since his arrest.
Smith said he picked his client up from jail Monday night and took him to a hospital for evaluation and treatment for some minor injuries he suffered in a fall.
“The jail treated him very well. … I applaud the sheriff for the way they took care of Wayne.”
Carr said members of Bair’s family attended most of the trial and will now be helping him move to Southern California where some of them live.