An 84-year-old man has been arrested and charged with the murder of his 78-year-old wife in Australia. Edward Rowen is said to have “flown into a rage” on Christmas Day 2019 following a family argument in which Rosalie Rowen, Edward’s wife of more than 50 years, stopped him from consuming their granddaughter’s Jell-O shots, ABC News reports. It’s believed he used a small elephant statue found in the Ballarat home to inflict blunt force trauma on Rosalie which later killed her.
- Rosalie died just a few hours after the attack. She was transported to a local hospital and treated for her injuries but sadly was unable to be stabilized and passed away a few hours later. As his lawyer, Tim Marsh, admitted in court, the attack is a difficult one to explain. “There’s something that is quite inexplicable about this offending. Mr. Rowen is an elderly man and issues of risk that might relate to him will naturally begin to attenuate at some point due to his frailty.”
- Edward had been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease. His condition, which is believed to be Alzheimer’s, led a judge to decide in March 2021 that Edward is unfit to stand trial. A court-appointed psychologist who assessed him revealed that he wasn’t well enough to hold a conversation and would be unable to instruct his lawyer or follow court procedures.
- The Crimes and Mental Impairment Act means he won’t go to prison. Instead, he could be sent to a supervised mental health facility or even released unconditionally, which, given his crime, could prove dangerous for himself or other members of his family. The prosecution team believes he should be sent to a facility with the capability to care for him. “Mr. Rowen’s current mental state is of course going to have a large bearing on the supervision the court imposes,” prosecutor David Glynn said. “It remains the case that Mr. Rowen has killed a person, killed his wife, with whom he was residing for reasons which can’t be explained, which probably couldn’t be explained at the time and certainly can’t be explained now.” Glynn added that Edward clearly “requires supervision.”
- This is an incredibly sad development. Edward clearly doesn’t understand what he’s done or the gravity of that and the pain he’s caused their children and grandchildren. Rosalie was a beloved matriarch who’s dearly missed by her loved ones and this is a heartbreaking case with no possibility of a satisfying ending.