After a jury convicted her in September, Viola Bowman, was sentenced last week in Clay County Circuit Court to life in prison without parole and 10 years for armed criminal action in the 2012 killing of her husband, Albert “Rusty” Bowman. Viola was indicted by grand jury on the charges in 2015.

The Clay County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office accused Viola of shooting her husband to death and attempting to stage the scene to look like a break-in had occurred in the couple’s home at at 5530 N.E. Munger Road in Kansas City. Bowman has maintained her innocence through the years, saying she found her husband with gunshot wounds when she returned from shopping at Walmart on Nov. 7, 2012.

On that day nine years ago, Kansas City police were dispatched to the Bowman residence regarding an ambulance call placed by Viola.

“Viola Bowman had reported that the residence has been broken into by an unknown party who had killed her husband. However, as the investigation progressed, evidence indicated that no break in occurred at the residence and the scene was staged by Ms. Bowman to look like a break in had occurred. Investigators determined that Ms. Bowman shot her husband once in the head and once in the chest at their residence in Kansas City before eventually calling 911,” states a release from the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Jurors recommended Viola serve life without parole for the killing and 10 years for the felony armed criminal action charge.

In 2020, Viola allegedly rejected a plea deal that would have downgraded the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter. The deal would have meant five years in prison with credit for time served, meaning Viola could have been released if she accepted the offer and pleaded guilty.

“I did not do this,” she told the judge.

After her sentencing, Bowman’s attorney Horton Lance said he plans to file an appeal on her behalf.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at or 903-6001.

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