A Spokane woman faces up to 30 years in prison for raping and torturing a man with whom she claimed to have a “special friendship.”
The seven-woman, five-man Superior Court jury deliberated for 1-1/2 hours Friday before finding Theresa Spickler-Bowe guilty of first-degree rape and second-degree assault.
Spickler-Bowe, 36, tortured the slim 42-year-old gas station attendant for four months, leaving him battered on 60 percent of his body, authorities said.
The abuse at Spickler-Bowe’s east Spokane apartment started in September 1996 and escalated until last January. The victim was punched, chained, burned, raped and threatened with a steak knife. He finally talked to police on Jan. 17.
The man’s longtime companion, Eunice Eickhoff, pleaded guilty earlier this month to participating in the abuse. During the trial, she testified against Spickler-Bowe, fingering her as the instigator.
“There is no good reason for one person to put another person through this,” said special prosecutor Patti Connolly Walker.
She and Deputy Prosecutor Jonathan Love plan to ask Judge Greg Sypolt for an exceptional sentence of 30 years in prison, triple the usual term. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 8.
“When you are talking about the length of the abuse, I don’t think 30 years is enough,” said Walker.
Spickler-Bowe sat stone-faced as Sypolt read the verdict. She refused comment afterward.
“I think Ms. Spickler-Bowe will go to her grave saying she didn’t do this,” said defense attorney Dennis Dressler.
Prosecutors presented a case full of physical evidence, including medical reports, pictures of the man’s wounds and the red-handled broom used in the rape. The victim detailed the abuse during three hours of gutwrenching testimony Monday that the jury found credible, Love said.
The victim’s gender distinguished the case. Spickler-Bowe is the first woman in Spokane County to be convicted of raping a man, Love said.
Convincing the jury that the man was a victim of domestic violence was a challenge, the prosecutor said.
“Despite the stereotypes of gender, there is such a thing as male rape victims,” he said.
Prosecutors did not call an expert on battered men, after Sypolt questioned the legal basis for the testimony.
The jury didn’t believe Spickler-Bowe’s tearful testimony Wednesday, during which she denied knowledge of the abuse and blamed Eickhoff.
Prosecutors recommended a 12-1/2-year sentence for Eickhoff’s first-degree rape and second-degree assault convictions. She will be sentenced in August.
After the rape, the victim returned to New Jersey. He was recently rehired as a gas station attendant.
He quit the job after 22 years in September 1996, hoping for a better life with Eickhoff.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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