Cooper CEO Was “Distraught” Over Critical Report

But family says John Sheridan wouldn't have been provoked to murder-suicide by work woes.

John Sheridan was troubled by a report criticizing the hospital on the day he died, witnesses say, but family members say work woes wouldn’t have spurred the CEO of the Cooper University Health System to commit murder-suicide.

John and Joyce Sheridan were found dead in their New Jersey home last fall. On Friday, the Somerset County prosecutor officially ruled their deaths a murder-suicide, a conclusion family members vigorously dispute. reports:

On the day he allegedly killed his wife, John Sheridan was scheduled to meet with employees at the hospital he ran “to discuss the pending release” of a state report critical of its performance in cardiac surgery, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Sheridan, CEO of Cooper University Health System, was “worried that the report would not accurately reflect the high quality care Cooper provides our cardiac patients,” said Cooper University Health Care spokeswoman Lori Shaffer.

But family members are disputing the murder-suicide ruling.

“My father, like any executive who is serious about their career and invested in their organization took criticism of that organization seriously,” said Mark Sheridan. “There is no question my father was not happy about the report that was to be issued. … That said, it is a fantasy to suggest that he would become violent toward himself or especially his wife of 47 years over a report about the efficacy of a doctor who was no longer with the hospital.”

The family has said it will file a lawsuit challenging the results of the investigation.