BOISE — An 89-year-old former Montpelier doctor who was charged with the September 2020 death of his wife has died in prison, officials confirmed.
Robert Dwight Degnan was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 24, the Ada County Coroner’s Office told the Journal on Wednesday.
An autopsy has been performed but the investigation is ongoing. According to the coroner’s office, the cause and manner of his death won’t be released until after ancillary testing is completed, which will likely take several weeks.
According to a Tuesday Idaho Department of Correction news release, the IDOC and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a death that occurred on Oct. 24 at the Idaho State Correctional Institution, though the release didn’t identify the deceased.
There were no signs of foul play or self-inflicted wounds, according to the press release.
Degnan was initially charged with one count of first-degree murder on Sept. 8, 2020, after he fatally shot his wife, Marjorie, in the chest in the early morning hours of Sept. 6, 2020, in a failed murder-suicide attempt, according to police reports the Idaho State Journal obtained last year. Degnan was unable to shoot himself after he dropped the gun and was unable to find it due to his poor eyesight, police said.
Degnan pleaded guilty in May to felony voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea agreement. Degnan had been ordered to wear an ankle monitor and remain in a Pocatello assisted living facility specializing in care for individuals with a mental illness, pending his sentencing. However, he was incarcerated in late August for violating his pre-sentence release conditions, according to court records.
Degnan and Marjorie both reportedly had serious health problems.
For about three decades, Degnan served as a trusted obstetrician and gynecologist for Bear Lake Memorial Hospital in Montpelier.
The Idaho State Correctional Institution is a 1,446-bed facility.