Washington man, 24, won’t get death penalty for killing man during botched gun robbery
A Washington County man convicted of murdering a partially deaf and blind man while trying to rob him of a gun collection six years ago will not face the death penalty, a jury decided.
A jury of six men and six women sentenced Brandon Wolowski, 24, to life in prison without parole after deliberating for several hours Tuesday.
Prosecutors had called for capital punishment via lethal injection.
Last week, the same jury found Wolowski guilty of first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Matthew Mathias, 37.
Defense attorney Noah Geary said he plans to appeal.
Prosecutors said Wolowski shot and killed Mathias and also shot Mathias’ girlfriend, Michelle Powell. Powell survived and testified during the jury trial.
Wolowski was 18 when he entered Mathias’ house in the city of Washington on Jan. 8, 2013 intending to steal guns he knew were kept inside, prosecutors said.
Powell told jurors that Wolowski, who knew Powell and Mathias, brought crack cocaine to their home before pointing a gun at the couple and demanding Mathias’ guns, which were kept in a locked safe in a hallway, the Observer-Reporter reports.
Police found Mathias, who was shot in the back, in the home’s front yard. He died shortly later at a hospital.
Powell was shot in the face, chest and arm.
In seeking capital punishment, Washington County prosecutors cited the wounding of Powell and the fact that the slaying occurred during commission of a felony.
Wolowski’s defense argued against the death penalty, citing Wolowski’s troubled upbringing and trauma that hindered his development and made him unable to think like a mature a adult. Wolowski was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and was in and out of foster homes throughout his childhood, his defense attorneys said.
Geary, one of the court-appointed defense attorneys, cited a 911 dispatch transcript says Powell called for help and told police that “her boyfriend shot her in the face.”
Geary also disputed the prosecution’s evidence of a confession and argued that Wolowski should have been allowed to have his attorney present when he was questioned by police.
Wolowski will be sentenced later on three other convictions of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .