Geraldine Malicki, 75, was in bed early Thursday when her husband came at her with a knife and stabbed her, police said.
Geraldine Malicki fled the bedroom, seeking refuge in another room, but her husband followed and stabbed her as many as 10 times, Lt. Brian Mullins said.
Leon Malicki, 76, who police said used more than one knife in the attack, called police right after the attack.
Police spent much of Thursday trying to piece together what prompted the assault that left Geraldine Malicki fighting for her life. Town police were investigating Thursday afternoon, with help from the state police major crime squad.
Police said they arrived at the Malickis' home, 22 Robidoux Road, about 4:20 a.m. Thursday, shortly after Leon Malicki called and told them that his wife had been stabbed.
Officers found Geraldine Malicki badly wounded, and she was rushed to Hartford Hospital. Shortly afterward police arrested her husband on charges of attempted murder and first-degree assault.
Geraldine Malicki was listed in critical condition.
Mullins said it does not appear that the couple argued before the attack and that the department has no record of domestic disputes involving them. He said neighbors who were interviewed did not know of any problems between the Malickis.
"This appears to have been a spontaneous, out-of-character incident," Mullins said. "There are health and age issues in the mix here. This is an older gentleman with health issues."
Police did not specify Leon Malicki's health problems, although he reportedly was hospitalized within the past week.
A next-door neighbor, Robin Mills, said she was unaware of any problems the couple might have had.
"It's kind of a mystery," Mills said. "They were a nice couple. They would always ask, 'How are your kids?' It's so sad."
When Malicki was arraigned Thursday in Superior Court in Bristol, he was in a wheelchair, a court official said.
In court, a judge ordered medical and mental health treatment for Malicki. At the request of Malicki's public defender, the judge also ordered a hearing to determine whether Malicki is competent to stand trial, Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Steve Preleski said.
Malicki was being held Thursday, with bail set at $750,000. The judge ordered him to stay away from his wife.
He is due back in court on June 12.