UPDATE: The Boone County prosecuting attorney has charged the injured man with murder.
COLUMBIA — A dead woman and her injured husband were found in their Woodrail Terrace home Friday afternoon.
The injured man, Donald M. Rowland, 88, has been charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his wife, Betty M. Rowland, 86.
The Rowlands' daughter had gone to check on her parents Friday afternoon at their condominium at 3426 Woodrail Terrace, according to a news release from Columbia police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer. She found her parents together in bed and covered with blood, according to a probable cause statement filed Friday.
The daughter removed two knives from the bed and called 911, according to the probable cause statement and the news release.
The Rowlands were still in the bed when police arrived. Betty Rowland suffered several stab wounds to the chest, and Donald Rowland appeared to have self-inflicted wounds, according to the probable cause statement.
Paramedics pronounced Betty Rowland dead at the scene. Donald Rowland was taken by ambulance to University Hospital for his injuries. On Saturday morning he was in fair condition.
Betty Rowland recently suffered a stroke and had been using a wheelchair, a neighbor said.
According to the probable cause statement, Donald Rowland told police he had injured his wife and himself because he didn't want to be a burden on their family.
"I believe this particular defendant is the oldest person I've ever charged with murder," said Dan Knight, who has served as Boone County's prosecuting attorney for more than 20 years. He said his office would consider many factors in the case and "try our best to do the right thing, just like in any other case."
Rowland's bail would be set at $1 million, Knight said.
People in the Rowlands' neighborhood described the couple as having a close relationship, and several said they were friendly neighbors.
"I never heard a cross word between them," said Ruth Welliver, 97, who has known the Rowlands for nearly a quarter-century. "They were such a lovely couple; I couldn't believe it."
Donald Rowland was active in the Military Officers Association of America and the Kiwanis Club, their neighbor Zella Spicer said, "You could not meet nicer people."
Police are still investigating the incident, and the Boone County medical examiner has not released Betty Rowland's cause of death.