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January 2, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Gunman sentenced to 29 years for killing wine steward in August 2012

Dinh Bowman, left, and his mother, Hong, right, cry as defense attorney John Henry Browne reads a plea to the court from Huang Bowman. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Dinh Bowman, left, and his mother, Hong, right, cry as defense attorney John Henry Browne reads a plea to the court from Hong Bowman. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Thomasdinh “Dinh” Bowman was sentenced to 29 years and one month in prison on Friday for the shooting death of Yancy Noll, a popular wine steward who was killed in August 2012 at a North Seattle intersection.

Bowman faced a standard range sentence of 20 to 26 years, plus an additional five years for using a firearm in committing the crime.

Stunned by the jury’s Dec. 11 verdict, Bowman reportedly took a razor to his left arm in an apparent suicide attempt the day after he was convicted, according to a letter his father wrote to King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller.

King County prosecutors had recommended Bowman, 32, be sentenced to the top end of the range — a total of 31 years — arguing that Noll’s killing involved “a high degree of sophistication or planning” and that Bowman’s actions had a foreseeable impact, not just on Noll’s large circle of family and friends, but on the greater community, according to the state’s sentencing memorandum.

Meanwhile, Bowman’s defense team recommended Bowman be sentenced to the low end of the range, 25 years in prison including the firearms enhancement.

During trial, Senior Deputy Prosecutors Kristin Richardson and Adrienne McCoy presented evidence to show Bowman had long fantasized about killing someone when he fired into Noll’s Subaru from the driver’s seat of his silver BMW Z4 convertible on Aug. 31, 2012 at the corner of 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 75th Street. Noll, 42, was shot four times in the head.

The jury also heard that Bowman took great pains to cover up the shooting, including cutting up the barrel of his gun, paying cash to replace his shot-out window and tires and hiding his car in his garage in the weeks before a citizen’s tip led to Bowman being identified as a suspect.

Bowman “appears to have no sense of morality (unless he has his own moral code) or conscience,” McCoy wrote in the sentencing memo. “Thomasdinh Bowman is a very, very dangerous man. Any sentence less than the maximum jeopardizes community safety.”

A 31-year sentence, McCoy wrote, “is a minimal price to pay for killing a young, vital man and challenging the sense of security to which every human being is entitled.”

Bowman, who took the stand in his own defense, told jurors that Noll was the aggressor in a road-rage incident that started near the Ship Canal Bridge on northbound Interstate 5. He claimed Noll had honked his horn and flashed his high beams at him and chucked a water bottle and wine bottle at Bowman’s head. Bowman testified that he got rid of the bottles and shell casings he later found in his car and disposed of the gun because he was convinced police wouldn’t believe he acted in self-defense.

In arguing for a low-end sentence of 25 years, the defense argued in its sentencing memo that prior to his murder conviction, Bowman had an “immaculate criminal record” and Noll’s killing represents “aberrant conduct” that is completely out of character for him. The defense also argued that the judge could take into account Bowman’s failed defense that he acted in self defense when considering an appropriate sentence.

The defense’s sentencing memo includes several letters written to the judge by Bowman’s friends and family, who extolled his intelligence and contributions to technology, his Catholic faith and love for his family.

“There is no debate Mr. Bowman led a peaceful life prior (to) this tragic incident. Mr. Bowman certainly has remorse for killing Mr. Noll but did so because he reasonably believed he acted in self-defense to preserve his own life,” the defense’s sentencing memo says. “Mr. Bowman will carry the burden and impact of his split-second actions for the rest of his life; this does not take away from the fact that this was an isolated event that is otherwise irreconcilable with Mr. Bowman’s character.”



Comments | Topics: Bowman, shooting, thrill kill


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