WARSAW, Mo. (AP) — A western Missouri woman who spent nearly seven years behind bars awaiting trial for the 2012 shooting death of her husband has been found guilty.
A Clay County jury on Monday convicted Viola Bowman, 60, of first-degree murder in the killing of 53-year-old Albert “Rusty” Bowman in their Kansas City home on Nov. 7, 2012, the Kansas City Star reported.
Viola Bowman has steadfastly maintained her innocence and says she found her husband shot when she returned from the store that day. She was not arrested for the killing until 2015, but has remained in jail since then while her case was delayed dozens of times as public defenders dealt with overwhelming caseloads.
Trial finally began last October, but ended in a mistrial when because of COVID-19 exposures involving a juror and court staff member.
Last year, Viola Bowman rejected a plea deal that would have given her credit for time served and allowed her to go free, but would have required her to admit guilt. She told a judge, ”“I did not do this.”
Prosecutors said Bowman shot her husband to collected on a life insurance policy and claimed statements she made to police were inconsistent. Officials also labeled her reaction to her husband’s death with first responders as “odd.”
Bowman’s attorney told jurors she loved her husband of 35 years, had cooperated fully with police and had no criminal history.