Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alabama: Police: Wounded wife grabbed gun, killed husband

Rosinton, Alabama

From of December 31, 2008
Police: Wounded wife grabbed gun, killed husband

Neighbors on a rural road in Baldwin County didn't pay much attention to the Cowan residence until gunfire erupted there two days before Christmas, revealing a deadly case of domestic violence.

Investigators said an enraged James Cowan Jr., 39, shot 42-year-old Pamela Cowan in the chest about 5:30 a.m., following a stretch of abuse that started the night before.

He had poured gasoline throughout their small home, dousing his wife and the bed in which she lay.

Then he stacked cushions from furniture on and near his wife and blocked the door with furniture as officers arrived.

But his wife managed to pick up the .357-caliber handgun he had put down briefly and shot him in the head, sheriff's spokesman Maj. Anthony Lowery said.

James Cowan was airlifted to a Mobile hospital where he was pronounced dead. Pamela Cowan was treated at a Pensacola, Fla., hospital and was expected to recover.

A county grand jury later will review the evidence, but Lowery said no charges were filed.

"There's no reason to believe she didn't act in self-defense," Lowery told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday in his Bay Minette office.

During the 13-year marriage, Pamela Cowan had obtained two protective orders against her husband, citing his violent moods, then tried to revoke both, including one about two weeks before the shooting. She told a judge in a letter that her husband needed "one more chance" to change his life. She wrote she had seen a therapist and hoped to save her marriage.

There was no indication the protection order was revoked. The judge in her case did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.


As the investigation continued Wednesday, it was not immediately clear what set off last week's shooting. Lowery was among the officers on the shooting scene.

"She was fairly coherent when we were in there," he said, adding that details at the scene matched her account. The gasoline fumes made it "tough to stay in there," he said.

Pamela Cowan's father, Charlie Wilson of Loxley, told the Press-Register, "At times she is all right; at times she is down." Wilson could not be reached for further comment.

A public fundraising effort has been set up to pay her medical bills.

A funeral director in Robertsdale said Wednesday services for Cowan were incomplete.

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