Harper woman gets 20-year jail sentence

Aimee Bowlin, who pled guilty to manslaughter in the May 2013 shooting death of her husband, Michael Bowlin, in Harper is led in chains by Gillespie County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. John Robinson (left), Deputy Karl Myers (second from right) and jail administrator, Lt. Larry Foraker, from the Gillespie County Jail to the courthouse across the street on Wednesday, June 25, for the sentencing phase of her case. Bowlin received a penalty of 20 years in state prison, the maximum for a manslaughter punishment. —Standard-Radio Post/Lisa Treiber-Walter

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

A Harper woman who said “it was me or him” when admitting she killed her husband and stabbed herself to claim self-defense, will serve 20 years.

Aimee Elizabeth Bowlin, 43, maintained throughout her legal proceedings that she was fearful of Michael (Mike) Bowlin, 45, and that 20-plus years of verbal and physical abuse led up to May 26, 2013 — the date she fatally shot him twice in the chest.

Her sentence, which is the maximum penalty possible for manslaughter, was determined Wednesday, June 25, by Judge N. Keith Williams in the 216th District Court at the Gillespie County Courthouse.

“Our family gave a unified sigh of relief in the courtroom when we heard the sentencing,” Amber Bowlin, the oldest of the couple’s two daughters, said yesterday.

“Although this doesn’t make living every day knowing we will never see my dad again easier, knowing that the person that took him from us, and attempted to disgrace his name and reputation with piles of lies, will be behind bars brings us some peace,” she said.

Manslaughter in Texas is a second-degree felony, punishable by a sentence between two and 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Bowlin’s punishment is final since her plea agreement precludes any appeal.

“Our perspective is that it is still not enough. We’re living a maximum sentence without him,” Amber said, adding she believed her mother had been premeditating the homicide of her father for years.

That is what was difficult, she said, about the family agreeing to lessen the charges against Aimee Bowlin from murder to manslaughter.

“The only thing you take off in Texas is the premeditated part and that was what hurt,” Amber said.

The family agreed to the move, though, when the prosecutor on the case, Lucy Wilke, said she felt confident the judge would give Bowlin the maximum sentence possible and any chance of an appeal would be taken off the plate.

“I was very satisfied with the 20-year sentence,” Wilke said.

Bambi Harrell, who worked with Mike Bowlin in his “Bowlin Game Capture and Guide Service” took to Facebook the next day to spread the word:

“Justice has finally been served for Mike Bowlin and his family. It has been a long journey filled with such heartache, loss and many tears … His daughters and family have long awaited for there to be closure and justice.”

“… Mike loved and adored his family literally until his last breath. He did not harm nor threaten anyone his last day on this earth with us. Yesterday his honor was restored by facts and actual evidence. How my heart wishes I could say that it is now finally over for this family, but that is not the case. A father, son, brother, uncle and best friend was taken from so many, and even the maximum sentence given for taking his life does not bring him back to all those who needed  and long for him to still be beside them. Her sentence is only 20 years … the sentence she delivered with her own hands by taking Mike’s life was a lifetime sentence without him for their children, his family and friends.”

Stormy past

The Bowlins had a documented past of marital troubles. In weeks just prior to the shooting incident, Aimee reportedly consulted a divorce lawyer more than once and a realtor in an attempt to find new living arrangements.

The couple had shared a home at 460 Kristen Lane in Harper until April 23, 2013, when Michael Bowlin was arrested on charges of assault (family violence.) He then moved to the 3 Star M Ranch where he worked in order to comply with the restrictions of an emergency protective order (EPO) issued by the state.

Friends, family and law enforcement reports state that Mike said he had only ever acted to defend himself against Aimee’s aggressiveness. The EPO was issued against him at the time, however, in an effort to protect Aimee and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter who was living with them at the time.

“Yes, there had been other incidences of assault/family violence,” Wilke said. “At the time of the shooting, there was a protective order in place prohibiting the victim from going to the home of the defendant (where the victim was shot),” she said.

Court documents state that the couple often violated the protective order by visiting and staying with each other.

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