A King County jury has found Thomasdinh Bowman guilty of first degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of Capitol Hill QFC wine steward Yancy Noll.
After one day of deliberation, the jury upheld the prosecutor’s claims that Bowman’s actions were premeditated, not stemming from road rage or self-defense, as Bowman had claimed.
Bowman, 32, showed little emotion as the verdict was read on Thursday. He remained emotionless through much of the three week trial, where prosecutors finished their closing remarks on Tuesday. Prior to reading the verdict, Judge Bruce Heller commended the jury for their work.
Bowman, who pleaded not guilty to the murder in 2012, faces a 20 to 30 year prison sentence, plus an additional five years for using a firearm. The judge did not set a date for sentencing.
After the verdict was read, defense attorney John Henry Browne told reporters he was not surprised by the decision and vowed to appeal the conviction. Under the law, Bowman could have asked the judge to have the jury consider a second degree murder charge. Instead, Browne said Bowman wanted to challenge the first degree charge head-on.
During the first two weeks of trial, prosecutors painted Bowman as a “student of death” who sought out a random target to kill.
Bowman told jurors he shot Noll in self-defense at 15th Ave NE and 75th in a road rage incident that got out of control. According to Bowman, the incident began when he abruptly stopped his car ahead of Noll’s on the I-5 ship canal bridge. Bowman said it sent Noll into such a rage that he hurled a wine bottle and water bottle into Bowman’s convertible, then nearly chased Bowman off a north Seattle road.
As Noll approached, Bowman testified that he saw Noll reach for something in his car. That’s when Bowman opened a bag that contained his hand gun. Bowman said he doesn’t remember firing the shots that killed Noll, he only remembered trying to get away from the scene.
On cross-examination, prosecutors said Bowman’s story did not hold up. Police found no evidence of the bottles being thrown, nor did any drivers come forward to corroborate Bowman’s claims.
After the shooting, Bowman went to great lengths to hide from police and didn’t tell his wife of seven years about the incident. Bowman said he didn’t to go to police because he was afraid they wouldn’t believe his story. Prosecutor’s said Bowman’s actions showed he was trying to get away with murder.
Police arrested Bowman three weeks later when a tipster recognized a sketch of the suspect that police created with the help of witnesses.
Noll began working as the Broadway Market QFC wine steward in August 2010. Following his death, coworkers and customers expressed an outpouring of grief online and at a roadside memorial. As the judge delivered the jury’s decision on Thursday, Noll’s friends and family who gathered in the court room hugged and wiped tears from their eyes.