Shooting suspect says suicide attempt was foiled

Yacolt man says he shot ex-girlfriend in the head by accident

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: October 31, 2012, 8:25 PM

 

A Yacolt man on trial for attempted murder said Wednesday he hatched a plan last year to kill himself in the presence of his ex-girlfriend — but it went awry.

As Jessica Fix slept, Michael T. Boswell said he lay down on an L-shaped couch near her and placed a revolver to his head. Fresh from a breakup with her, Boswell said he wanted to watch her as he died.

“I just wanted the last thing before my lights went out to be her,” Boswell testified to a Clark County jury.

Instead, when he pulled the trigger, he said his shoulder popped out of the socket and the gun moved forward, discharging a bullet at Fix instead.

The 30-year-old man took the stand Wednesday afternoon as the defense’s only witness in the trial before Clark County Superior Court Judge Dan Stahnke. The prosecution had two rebuttal witnesses; closing arguments are expected this morning.

Boswell, calm and matter-of-fact, was on the stand for about two hours. He first described how he was suicidal when Fix broke up with him. He said he started thinking up ways to kill himself just before the shooting on Nov. 14, 2011.

The day leading up to the event, he said, he tried poisoning himself by mixing high levels of Tylenol PM and muscle relaxers into his tea. He used two mixing cups and said the drugs inexplicably slipped into a glass of peppermint tea intended for Fix. She had the tea when she arrived home from work early on Nov. 14.

Later, after she became violently ill, she fell asleep on the couch.

Boswell said he decided to fetch a decorative .22-caliber revolver on the wall at the house. “I couldn’t think of anything else that would work,” he said. “I didn’t want to make a mistake.”

He said that’s when he lay down, opposite Fix on the L-shaped couch. “I was just looking at her,” he said.

But when he pulled the trigger, the bullet discharged across the room.

“When I collapsed, my hand fell forward,” he said.

Fix woke up and asked Boswell what happened. He told her he was trying to kill himself and shot her.

“In my mind, it was a complete and total accident. She knew it was an accident,” he said. “In my mind, I hadn’t committed a crime.”

Boswell said Fix was upset he had tried to commit suicide in her parents’ house, where they lived. He said she told him that, if he really wanted to kill himself, she’d take him to the woods later and he could do it there.

After cleaning herself up, Fix, who had sustained a skull fracture, drove herself from the Yacolt house to the Battle Ground Fred Meyer store. From there, her friends drove her to the hospital.

During cross-examination, Deputy Prosecutor Jeannie Bryant attempted to discredit Boswell’s account. For instance, Boswell is right-handed, but said he fired the gun with his left hand. He also said he wasn’t immediately sure he shot her.

“So your testimony is that you sat there for five to 10 minutes before you realized you shot her in the head?,” Bryant asked. Boswell said yes.

Bryant also pointed out that Boswell never attempted to call 911 or call Fix’s parents.

The deputy prosecutor portrayed Boswell as heartbroken over the breakup.

“Do you consider her your soulmate?,” she asked.

“Honestly, yes I do,” he responded.

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