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ALZHEIMER PATIENT TAKEN OFF SUPPORT

An 86-year-old Alzheimer's disease victim was taken off life-support equipment after a judge honored the patient's "living will" request that he not be kept alive by artificial means.

Fred Finsterbach, who was admitted to the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in October 1987, was taken off life-support equipment Friday. He was alive but comatose Wednesday and was not expected to live long, said Dr. William Hartnagel of the center.

Finsterbach was committed after the Oneida County Court ruled he was unable to stand trial in the death of his 79-year-old wife, Vera, by reason of mental disease.

Finsterbach, a retired educator and administrator, had been charged with criminally negligent homicide after his wife was found fatally injured in their home in Westmoreland in August 1987.

He reportedly told authorities he punched a woman he believed was trying to break into the house.

State Supreme Court Justice John Tenney based his June 14 decision on a so-called "living will" that Finsterbach had written years before his illness in 1979.

In that document, he requested not to be kept alive by artificial means.

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