The fact that Fowler shot and killed Thomas Ciancio was never in dispute. What was in dispute was whether the act was deliberate and pre-planned. Prosecutors argued the fact that Ciancio was shot three times in the face could not be an accident -- it was an execution.
"Mr. Fowler waited until (Ciancio) signed that separation agreement before he took his life. Looked him right in the eye when he pulled that first trigger. He shot him right in the face! What does that tell you about deliberation?" prosecutor Dave Young asked the jury during closing arguments in the trial.
The defense argued that Fowler went to the office that day, armed with a gun, to kill himself.
"We're not trying to justify it. (Ciancio's) death is a tragedy but it is not first-degree murder," said Sarah Quinn, one of Fowler's two defense attorneys. "(Fowler's) only plan was to take his own life. No intent. No deliberation. It was just a tragic reaction by Mr. Fowler."
The jury had to decide if Fowler was guilty of first-degree or second-degree murder. District Court Judge Francis Wasserman dismissed defense requests to include crime of passion and other lesser offenses in the jury instructions.
Ciancio died Dec. 30, 2009 while he went to the office to collect a severance check from Fowler Software Design. Ciancio had decided to leave the company after the founder, 58-year-old Rex Fowler, had diverted $175,000 in company funds to Fowler's church, the Church of Scientology.
He and Fowler, the founder of the company, were the only two people inside the lower-level office near 84th Avenue and Interstate 25 that day.
Young and a fellow prosecutor waved a replica handgun during closing arguments to demonstrate the actions they allege Fowler took in putting three bullets into Ciancio's head. "If you fire three shots into someone's head it is your intent to kill," said prosecutor Yvette Werner.
"It is your conscious objective for them to be dead. (The defense) wants you to believe it was ... what? 'Oops! Oops! Oops!'" she said pointing a replica gun towards wall."Does that make any sense to you? Of course not."
Earlier Friday, Dr. James Wilkerson IV told the jury Ciancio had been shot "within two feet" -- and two of the shots were to the back of the head. [more...]
William Rex Fowler: $200K Scientology donor found guilty of murdering Thomas Ciancio
blogs.westword.com ~ An Adams County District judge is trying to keep Scientology from overwhelming the William Rex Fowler murder trial, even though Fowler's software company was reportedly in trouble because he gave around $200,000 to the sect. But that hasn't prevented anti-Scientology forums from linking the object of their derision to the late 2009 slaying of Thomas Ciancio, Fowler's ex-partner. [more...]
KUSA-TV News9 - Man charged in shooting death of former business partner
Background of stories above. Aired: 1/22/10