A 76-year-old man sentenced to life in the "mercy killing" of his wife lost his bid for freedom yesterday as two more Florida Cabinet members rejected Gov. Robert Graham's recommendation to free him while he appeals his murder conviction.

"The law does not give one person the right to kill another because of illness or age," said Comptroller Gerald Lewis, the last of the six-member Cabinet to take a stand on the case of Roswell Gilbert.

Lewis' decision left Graham with only two of the three votes required from members of the independently elected Cabinet to allow Gilbert to leave a correctional facility near Tampa.

Agriculture Commissioner Doyle Conner announced earlier in the day that he would not support conditional commutation for Gilbert, who was convicted in May of first-degree murder.

Graham recommended last Thursday that Gilbert be allowed to pursue his appeals from the Fort Lauderdale condominium where he shot his wife, Emily, after giving her a sedative. Mrs. Gilbert, 73, suffered from Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis.

Reacting to the Cabinet members' decision, Gilbert said: "I think the whole thing is rather unfair because morally I had to do what I did. It's very disappointing and I think it's grossly unfair."