Jury convicts Yacolt man of attempted murder

Michael Boswell poisoned and shot ex-girlfriend last year

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: November 1, 2012, 6:12 PM

 

He said it was a suicide attempt gone wrong.

The jury didn’t buy it.

Michael T. Boswell of Yacolt was convicted Thursday on two counts of attempted first-degree murder for poisoning and shooting his ex-girlfriend last year.

Boswell, 30, showed no outward emotion as Clark County Superior Court Judge Dan Stahnke read the verdicts from the jury of seven men and five women. Sentencing is set for Nov. 16. First-degree attempted murder carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. The verdict came with a firearm enhancement, which adds an additional five years to the sentence.

Attorneys gave closing arguments Thursday morning, sending the case to the jury about 11 a.m. The trial began Monday.

Neither side disputed that Boswell shot Jessica Fix, his ex-girlfriend, on Nov. 14, 2011, soon after she broke up with him. And neither side disputes that Fix’s liver began failing after she drank peppermint tea prepared for her by Boswell.

However, defense attorney David Kurtz argued that both were accidents and that his client was really trying to take his own life. On Wednesday, Boswell testified that he had mixed Tylenol PM and muscle relaxers into his own tea to commit suicide, and that some of the concoction had somehow slipped into Fix’s cup.

The next morning, according to Boswell’s testimony, he planned to shoot himself in the presence of his girlfriend, who was asleep on the couch. Lying down on the L-shaped couch opposite Fix, Boswell said, he pulled the .22-caliber revolver’s trigger — but it caused his shoulder to move out of its socket and, he contends, the bullet hit Fix instead.

“In his mind, that was the only way he had to keep her when the lights went out,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz said there were no signs in the case that Bos-well was trying to cover up his actions — he didn’t destroy evidence and he gave a statement to investigators. He also didn’t flee the home, a telltale sign of a guilty person, Kurtz said.

“A lot of people who commit a crime flee,” the defense attorney said. “We have no fleeing in this case.”

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeannie Bryant countered that the defense was working to show what’s missing from the case, and not all the other evidence of intent to kill. She described Boswell’s testimony as very inconsistent and bizarre.

She asked, why did he say he shot the gun with his left hand when he’s right-handed? Bryant also pointed out that if his story was accurate, his arm would have had to have been completely extended to shoot Fix in the head.

“None of that makes any sense,” she said.

Bryant conceded that perhaps Boswell also was planning to take his life. “If he intended to commit suicide, the state submits he intended to take her with him,” she said.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.