During his jury trial in the fall of 1998, prosecutors contended Bruce Rowan had carefully planned the slaying of wife Deborah — and then staged a car crash to make it look as if she died in a traffic accident so he could collect on her new $500,000 life-insurance policy and travel the world.
But Rowan’s lawyer, David Allen of Seattle, argued that Rowan had suffered a major psychotic episode the night his wife was killed.
“One would have to be crazy, stupid or insane to kill your wife on the day the insurance policy took effect,” Allen said during closing arguments.
“And we know Bruce Rowan is not stupid.”
Allen also denied allegations his client faked insanity when police began an interview with him that ended with Rowan stabbing himself in an apparent suicide attempt.
In his own testimony, Rowan had called the night of his wife’s death a “poorly organized nightmare” and said it had taken him “weeks and really months to understand she’s dead.”
“I could see myself, but I was still within myself,” he said of the killing, as his wife dozed in their bed.
“Debbie was just as peaceful as could be. I remember her image. The bat came down really fast. Then she groaned. That’s all she did.”