After hearing closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, a King County Superior Court jury will begin its deliberations Wednesday morning in the first-degree murder trial of Thomasdinh “Dinh” Bowman — and will decide if the fatal shooting of wine steward Yancy Noll in August 2012 was premeditated murder or an act of self-defense.
Bowman, who turned 32 on Tuesday, spent two days on the witness stand, claiming he was in fear for his life after Noll chased his silver BMW convertible and chucked bottles at Bowman in a road-rage incident that started on Interstate 5 on Aug. 31, 2012. Bowman testified that he reached for his handgun after seeing Noll rummage around on the passenger side of his car, presumably in search of a weapon.
Noll died in his car at 15th Avenue North and North 75th Street.
But the jury heard testimony from two witnesses who were the first to reach Noll that both of his hands were on the steering wheel of his Subaru. Noll was killed 15 minutes after leaving work at a QFC store on Capitol Hill where he worked as a wine steward.
Noll was shot four times in the head, and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kristen Richardson said the “kill shot” was likely from a bullet that struck his face just below his right nostril, which means Noll was looking at Bowman when that round was fired.
Though Bowman admitted he intentionally shot Noll, Richardson said Bowman repeatedly lied on the stand about details that did not support his claim of self-defense, which she called a fantastical story concocted over the past two years.
Defense attorney John Henry Browne told jurors the state is responsible for both disproving Bowman’s self-defense claim and proving premeditation. He said if Bowman really was a “student of murder” as the state alleged, then Bowman didn’t do a good job of putting what he learned into practice since the killing was done in daylight, during rush-hour traffic and while Bowman was driving a conspicuous car.