Category: Archive

California murder defense pivots on man’s mental state

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Prosecutors wrapped up their case against a Dublin man charged with stabbing his wife to death in the couple’s California house as his defense attorney this week began to build a picture of him as a man crippled by mental instability.

Colman Bowers, a former computer company vice president, is charged with murdering his wife, Georgina, stabbing her to death with an eight-inch knife a year ago as she lay of the bed of their Santa Clara home.

As Bowers admits stabbing his wife, much of the legal wrangling now focuses on medical experts’ testimony about the state of the defendant’s mental health.

Assistant District Attorney Terry Bowman has called on a court-appointed psychiatrist to testify that Bowers was sane, conscious of his actions and knew what he was doing was wrong when he stabbed his wife.

But his defense attorney, Kleigh Hathaway, has argued that Bowers was mentally impaired when he killed his wife. She called on two separate experts to testify that Bowers suffered from a "manic episode" when the attack occurred and was only conscious of his actions after his wife had been killed.

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Bowers was arrested on Feb. 7 last year after police were called to his middle-class residence about 60 miles from San Francisco.

On the day of the murder after the family ate Sunday dinner, Bowers had called his two adult sons on a cellular phone to tell them there was emergency at the house.

The two sons later found their mother’s naked body in a back bedroom. Their 12-year-old sister also testified about seeing her father crouched over her mother’s body.

The family had moved to the U.S. 12 years ago after Bowers secured a lucrative post as an executive vice president at a Silicon Valley computer firm. But prosecutors charge the couple argued over Bowers’s drinking and gambling in Las Vegas and Georgina had contemplated returning to Ireland.

Prosecutors also alleged Bowers had become involved with a prostitute during his gambling junkets to the casino resort and had built up more than $30,000 in debts maintaining his relations with her.

The prosecution also flew in two Las Vegas prostitutes to testify about their relations with Bowers.

California officials said the defense could finish calling its witnesses this week and the jury could begin deliberating as early as Wednesday.

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