An 88-year-old man who stabbed his 86-year-old wife to death admitted to the fatal stabbing, saying he and his longtime wife had agreed to end their lives together. The elderly Missouri man killed his ill wife by stabbing her multiple times, and then sliced his wrists in the bizarre murder / suicide attempt. Investigators said the 88-year-old father of four adult children killed his wife of 64 years, then attempted to take his own life, because he “didn’t want to be a burden to the family.”
Writes The Associated Press on March 3, via ABC news: “Donald Rowland pleaded guilty in Boone County Circuit Court on Monday to first-degree involuntary manslaughter. His sentencing has been scheduled for April 13. Rowland was originally charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his wife, Betty Rowland, but prosecutors reduced those charges last month.”
The incident occurred back in October 2014. Betty Rowland, a grandmother of 13, suffered a stroke shortly before then and needed constant care. Donald Rowland said he was getting too old to give her the care she needed and did not want to pass on the encumbrance to their children.
Authorities said a daughter went to the condominium home of her parents in the 3400 block of Woodrail Terrace in Columbia and found them both in bed together, bleeding out. Betty Rowland was stabbed at least twice in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. Donald Rowland was taken to the University Hospital with his self-inflicted injuries; he has since recovered.
The Daily Mail spoke of the Rowlands and their life together: “Betty Montgomery married Donald Rowland, her college sweetheart, in 1950, and the two went on to have four children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Mrs. Rowland, a music teacher by trade, followed her husband, a career military officer in the US Air Force, when he was posted to Yokota Air Base in Japan, where she taught piano to military personnel. When she was not giving music lessons and singing in a choir, the mother of four acted as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, a PTA officer and was involved in charity work.”
According to the Columbia Tribune, Boone County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Crane asked Donald Rowland questions regarding what he did and if he understood his rights. Crane read the criminal complaint against Rowland, which said the 88-year-old “knowingly” killed his wife with a knife.
“Did you do that?” Crane asked.
“Yes,” Donald Rowland replied.
The story raises questions about elderly care and the mindset of an older generation, who in many cases have a difficult time putting their full-time health care into the hands of family members.
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