BUFFALO, N.Y. — An 88-year-old man accused of attempting to kill his ailing wife in a western New York nursing home has pleaded guilty to an assault charge.

Martin Turkiewicz (TURK’-uh-witz), of Cheektowaga (cheek-tuh-WAH’-guh), pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree assault. Turkiewicz had previously been charged with first-degree assault and second-degree attempted murder.

Police say Turkiewicz walked into his wife’s room at the nursing home in September and hit Rita Turkiewicz in the head with a hammer. The woman suffered a skull fracture and brain bleeding.

The couple’s daughter says her mother suffers from dementia. Turkiewicz’s previous attorney had said his client was trying to put his wife out her misery.

An order of protection prohibits the couple from being alone together.

Turkiewicz will be sentenced Feb. 8.

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