The 91-year-old man who died after jumping from a Columbia parking garage on Tuesday afternoon had previously been convicted in the stabbing death of his wife.

The man, who was identified as Donald Rowland of Columbia, was convicted in the Oct. 31, 2014, stabbing of his wife, Betty Rowland, and himself at the couple’s Woodrail Terrace condominium.

The couple’s daughter found the two covered in blood in bed and called the police. Paramedics pronounced Betty Rowland, 86, dead at the scene.

According to a probable cause statement, Rowland killed his wife and attempted to kill himself because he said he did not want to burden their family. Betty Rowland had suffered a stroke and was in a wheelchair before her death, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Rowland was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Prosecutors later charged him with first-degree murder and set his bond at $1 million. Rowland pleaded not guilty.

In February 2015, prosecutors reduced the charges to one count of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and Rowland pleaded guilty. During sentencing, Rowland’s lawyers told the judge that his client was suffering from depression and anxiety and had been taking a mix of medications that put him in a bad state of mind when the stabbing occurred.

According to previous Missourian reporting, Rowland was remorseful for his actions. “I should have gotten treatment,” he said. “I loved my wife, and we had a good life together.”

Instead of prison time, the judge suspended his sentence and gave Rowland five years of supervised probation. At the time, Rowland’s eldest daughter, Robin Jones, said that Rowland would live with her and her husband.

The funeral for Rowland, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and former banker, will be private.

Supervising editor is Gary Garrison: news@columbiamissourian.com, 882-7884.

  • Kathryn Palmer is an education reporter for the Columbia Missourian and a graduate student at the MU School of Journalism. She can be reached at kathryn.palmer@mail.missouri.edu

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