Medical experts who testified in a capital murder case said on Tuesday that a man’s brutal, deadly killing rampage was caused by low sodium levels in his system.
Dallas News reports Erbie Bowser, 48, is currently on trial for murdering four women and for injuring four children on August 7, 2013. His girlfriend and an estranged wife were two of the victims.
For two days, jurors heard testimony from medical experts who said that Bowser had a shrunken hippocampus and brain lesions, stemming from his days of playing football in both high school and college. Experts said that Bowser also has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brought about by his time spent in the military.
#ErbieBowser trial,14 yo survivor: "All I could think about was, was I going to die…" @CBSDFW 4:30 pic.twitter.com/4FQskGxSKv
— Robbie Owens (@cbs11Robbie) April 24, 2017
The cornerstone of his defense, however, is his low sodium levels, according to medical experts. Tony L. Strickland, a neuropsychologist, said that low sodium levels can cause water to build up in the body, leading to brain swelling, which can lead to mental confusion and fatigue. Strickland said that the three symptoms combined made a “neurobehavioral perfect storm that gave rise to this tragic event.”
Strickland also said that low sodium levels combined with Bowser’s brain injuries made it possible for the suspect to be insane. In Texas, however, it must be proven that the suspect did not understand the difference between right or wrong when the crime occurred, whether deemed insane or not.
Forensic psychologist Robert Stanulis said that Bowser’s brain damage made it difficult for him to grasp morality and was “unable to appreciate that his conduct was wrong.”
Bowser killed his estranged wife, Zina Bowser, with a knife. He then injured Zima’s two young sons and killed her 28-year-old daughter, Neima Williams.
The suspect later killed his former girlfriend, Toya Smith, 43, and her daughter, Tasmia Allen, 17. He injured Smith’s son, Malone, along with Tasmia’s friend, Dasmine Mitchell.
Prior to the killings, Bowser was described as a “gentle giant” who worked with special needs kids.
[Feature Photo: Dallas County Jail]