NEW PORT RICHEY — John McKim gave his wife a heavy dose of sleeping pills and sat down to write a note outlining a suicide pact.
She had "suffered enough pain and problems, and we can not take anymore any longer," he wrote in a note last November, authorities say.
Next, he planned to take his own life.
But McKim changed his mind, authorities said, and called his wife's doctor.
Then he went to jail.
Sheriff's investigators found that Claire McKim, ailing from a stroke and dependent on her husband for care, had made no such pact.
She didn't want to die, she told a detective after waking up, and she didn't know her husband's intentions.
John McKim, 70, was charged with battery on a person over 65. Prosecutors later increased the charge to attempted murder.
He was set to face trial on Monday but pleaded guilty to felony battery and was sentenced to five years of probation. He was ordered to have no contact with his wife, who is staying in an undisclosed facility so her husband can't contact her.
According to court records, they married on Feb. 22, 1987, in Anaheim, Calif. He had six children from a previous marriage; she had one. They moved to Florida and bought a house on Hearthstone Court in Gulf Trace in 2005. Some time after that, Claire McKim suffered a stroke.
Neighbors said her husband became her primary caregiver.
Days after his arrest in November, Claire McKim, 70, obtained a domestic violence injunction against her husband.
In addition to giving her the sleeping pills, she wrote in the petition, "he cut me at my throat with intent to kill me."
A month later, she filed for divorce.
She is seeking alimony, the couple's house and health and life insurance.
She also seeks monetary damages, claiming her husband "willfully and maliciously overdrugged" her. And she wants her former name, Weisenfeld, restored.
John McKim, despite his criminal charges, refused to accept his wife's terms.
He filed a counterpetition, denying overdosing her and saying he should get their house and car.
He also asked for alimony and said he can't afford to pay his attorneys' fees, so his wife should.
Their divorce case was referred to mediation and remains open.
Molly Moorhead can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6245.