Utah mother on trial for poisoning her husband, lawyer breaks down ‘very damaging’ evidence: Lexie Rigden
Criminal defense attorney Lexie Rigden analyzes how text and Google evidence could incriminate the Utah mom.
Prosecutors said this week that information pulled from a former Mayo Clinic doctor suspected of poisoning his wife – in addition to online searches like “Internet Browsing History: Can it be Used In Court?” – has strengthened their case since he was indicted on murder charges.
Poison control expert Connor Bowman, 30, faces a potential life sentence if convicted after he was indicted in Minnesota last week on first-degree murder charges in the death of his Mayo Clinic pharmacist wife, Betty Bowman, 32.
Previously, according to court filings, detectives learned Connor Bowman had purchased a gift card for an online pharmacy and that his wife had a lethal dose of gout drug colchicine in her system when she died in Mayo Clinic’s St. Mary’s Hospital on Aug. 20. They also wrote in their indictment that he used his computer to convert his wife’s weight to kilograms and multiply it by 0.8 – an equation that would determine the fatal dose of the drug.
On Tuesday, prosecutors told District Court Judge Kathy Wallace that digital forensic evidence showed that colchicine was, in fact, the drug that Bowman used his credentials to purchase in the weeks preceding his wife’s death, FOX 9 reported.
MAYO CLINIC DOCTOR CHARGED WITH MURDERING WIFE WHO WAS POISONED AFTER OPEN RELATIONSHIP FAILED: DOCUMENTS
The charge against Connor Bowman, 30, was upgraded to first-degree murder with intent last Thursday in the death of his wife, Betty Bowman, 32. (Olmsted County Jail)
Also, at the 15-minute hearing, they asked Wallace to double Bowman’s unconditional bail from $5 million to $10 million and his conditional bail amount to be set at $5 million rather than $2 million, considering the high stakes of his potential life sentence.
Wallace declined to do so, instead telling a handcuffed and shackled Bowman that he would need to establish residency in Minnesota and wear a GPS monitor if he posts bail. The 30-year-old has been behind bars at Olmsted County Jail since his October arrest, according to online records.
His next court date has yet to be scheduled. Michael Schatz, Bowman’s attorney, did not respond to emails for comment on the case.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a pharmaceutical doctorate in 2018, Betty Bowman worked as a “diligent and capable hospital pharmacist” for Mayo Clinic, according to her obituary. Her husband was a medical resident at the world-renowned hospital’s location in Rochester, Minnesota.
POISON CONTROL DOCTOR TRIED TO CREMATE WIFE AFTER GOUT MEDICINE MURDER: POLICE
Saint Mary’s Hospital at the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota. (Google Maps)
“Mayo Clinic is aware of the charges filed against a former resident which are unrelated to his Mayo Clinic responsibilities,” Dan Lea, a communications specialist for the hospital, wrote in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The resident’s training at Mayo Clinic ended in early October. We continue to extend our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Betty Bowman while the criminal case proceeds.”
The representative did not expound on why Bowman’s residency came to a halt.
Bowman’s arrest and the search of his home were set in motion after police ordered Betty Bowman’s blood samples to be tested at the Minnesota Department of Health.
There, medical professionals determined that 29ng/ml of colchicine – a medication commonly used in much smaller doses to treat gout – was in her bloodstream when she died.
MINNESOTA MAN ACCUSED OF FATALLY IMPALING ACCLAIMED BALLET DANCER RULED INCOMPETENT FOR TRIAL
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. (Google Maps)
Betty Bowman had never been treated for gout, and medical examiners noted in her post-mortem autopsy that she had no symptoms that would lead a doctor to prescribe gout medication. Her death was ruled a homicide caused by the “toxic effects” of the colchicine – although investigators’ knowledge of Bowman’s specific purchase of the drug was just revealed, the Rochester Police Department began to build a case against the doctor soon after his wife’s death.
Friends told police that the Bowman couple were in an open relationship, and that Betty began threatening divorce when Connor developed an “emotional connection” to another woman, the Post Bulletin reported.
Around that time, police said Bowman began making concerning searches on his work laptop for the University of Kansas, where he worked as a poison control specialist, soon after he developed an “emotional connection” to another woman.
Before Betty went to the hospital, Connor Bowman allegedly searched for the drug colchicine.
He was supposed to use the University of Kansas computer to look up medications relevant to calls to the poison control center, but neither he nor his coworkers had any calls pertaining to gout or colchicine during the weeks preceding his wife’s death.
Days before his wife fell ill, Bowman allegedly searched “delete Amazon history police,” “police track package delivery” and “internet browsing history: can it be used in court?”
MURDERED HUSBAND OF UTAH CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR HAD WIFE’S MEDS IN HIS BODY WHEN HE DIED: COURT DOCS
Betty Bowman’s cause of death was the result of toxic effects of colchicine, according to court documents. (Betty Bowman/Facebook)
Five days later, he allegedly searched “food v. industrial grade sodium nitrate,” according to the history on the seized computer, and looked up a medical journal used by doctors to test the lethality of certain substances.
Detectives also learned that Bowman used his medical credentials to access his wife’s electronic health information during her emergency department stay for suspected food poisoning.
Doctors’ treatment for food poisoning had been ineffective, and the woman succumbed to organ failure and fluid in her lungs, according to arresting documents, but she was perfectly healthy before she was admitted.
Bowman also accessed her information a few days after she died, reviewing the medication she was administered, her reported allergies and an operating room log.
An Olmsted County coroner reached out to police when Bowman asked that his wife be “cremated immediately” after her four-day hospital stay and death on Aug. 20.
SUSPECTED FENTANYL DEALER CHARGED WITH MURDER IN OVERDOSE DEATH OF TEXAS TEEN
Around the same time, a concerned friend of the deceased woman called the examiner’s office to report that the couple was “talking about a divorce following infidelity and a deteriorating relationship.”
In the weeks leading up to her death, court documents show, Betty Bowman had also told them her husband was in about $500,000 debt and that they kept separate bank accounts.
Meanwhile, according to a probable cause affidavit, Bowman mentioned to a friend that he stood to receive a $500,000 insurance payout in the event of his wife’s death. Investigations found a $450,000 bank deposit note when they searched the Bowmans’ home after the doctor’s arrest, court documents show.
Connor Bowman was arrested during a traffic stop on Oct. 20 by the Rochester Police Department. (Google Earth)
Bowman wrote in his late wife’s obituary that she suffered from hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), which is a rare illness where certain blood cells are over-produced and damage organs. Tests performed for HLH were inconclusive, police wrote.
Days before Betty fell ill, Bowman purchased a gift card for a website that sold the drug, police said.
A man who was dating Betty, referred to as “SS” in court documents, told detectives that the woman “had a few days off and was looking to spend some time with him” on Aug. 14.
After they met up the next day, she and the man texted back and forth while she and her husband drank alcohol at home.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The next day, before she was admitted to the hospital, Betty texted the other man that she was sick and unable to sleep; she blamed an alcoholic drink mixed with a large smoothie she drank last night for her illness, the man told police.
Christina Coulter is a U.S. and World reporter for Fox News Digital. Email story tips to [email protected].