By Patrick Markey
A Dublin computer executive was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison on Thursday for stabbing his wife to death after they bickered over his gambling debts and liaisons with a Las Vegas prostitute.
Appearing in a Santa Clara courthouse, Colman Bowers showed no emotion when the judge handed him the maximum sentence for killing his wife, Georgina Bowers, in the bedroom of their home near San Francisco.
Under California law, Bowers, who is 45, must serve at least 26 years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. He is unlikely to be released on his first parole hearing, law enforcement officials said.
None of Bowers’s family were present in the courtroom for Thursday’s brief proceedings. The judge granted Bowers 90 days’ stay in the local county jail where he is being held before he is transferred to the state prison system.
Bowers had moved from Dublin to the U.S. about 12 years ago and secured a lucrative executive post in a Silicon Valley computer company.
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Santa Clara police said the tragedy unfolded in February last year after Bowers was arrested for stabbing his wife once in the chest with a kitchen knife.
During his trial on second-degree murder charges, the court heard that Bowers told his two teenage sons he had taken a nap with their mother and then woke up and stabbed her. After the murder he calmly smoked a cigarette outside while waiting for police to arrive, the court heard.
While not disputing he committed the murder, his defense lawyer claimed that Bowers was mentally impaired when he stabbed his wife. Attorney Kleigh Hathaway argued that Bowers suffered from manic depression and was unable to control his actions.
But the prosecution flew two Las Vegas prostitutes to California to testify about their relations with the defendant.
One of the women testified to police for six hours about their relationship, providing details about drinking, dancing and gambling with Bowers. The personal entertainer told the court Bowers had helped her rent an apartment in Las Vegas.
Police also seized a computer and downloaded e-mail messages the victim had sent to Ireland, according to Sgt. Anton Morec, a Santa Clara police spokesman. Those messages indicated Georgina Bowers had concerns over her husband’s drinking and over the family’s finances.