Family says justice isn’t being served in daughter’s murder case

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 13:46
  • Police say Linda Anne Martz Bower was killed in September, 2014, by David Joseph Thomas, a man she was trying to break up with, her family said. (Photo courtesy of Sherry Miller)

A year ago, the family of Linda Anne-Martz Bower thought it might finally be nearing closure in the case of the 19-year-old woman’s 2014 murder.

But the wheels of justice grind painfully slowly — a process that’s tearing up those who want to see justice for the man who has admitted killing his former girlfriend.

“There is no justice for my daughter,” said Sherry Miller, who said she’s been “literally through hell” as she’s waited for the case to be resolved.

Miller spoke out at a recent public meeting in Eagle River about a Court of Appeals ruling she heard about on television that overturned a judge’s rejection of a plea deal struck between prosecutors and David Thomas, who has pleaded guilty to the murder but has yet to be sentenced.

Thomas, 31, was originally charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Police say he killed Bower after she broke off a relationship with him.

Thomas’ sentencing began this spring, and he agreed to a sentence of 75 years with 25 suspended. But in April judge Kevin Saxby rejected the deal, saying the fact Thomas would be eligible for parole in 14 years “cheapens the crime.”

However, Saxby’s ruling was overturned by the appeals court earlier this month, according to a report by KTUU-TV. The court said Saxby erred in rejecting the deal, which was in keeping with sentencing guidelines imposed by the Legislature.

Miller said she was shocked to see the report on television and wasn’t aware a ruling was imminent.

“He’s gonna get the plea that he wanted,” Miller said.

Bower’s mother was emotional as she talked about the idea Thomas would be eligible to get out of prison in such a short period of time.

“That is not justice,” she said.

The family has long advocated for a harsh sentence for Thomas, who allegedly admitted to strangling Bower in September of 2014.

Online court records show Thomas is now scheduled for sentencing March 9 in Anchorage. In a Facebook post, Sherry Miller pleaded with friends to again support their calls for a stiffer sentence.

“Friends, family and Eagle River community. March 9th at 8:30am is a second sentencing hearing for the monster who murdered my daughter,” Miller wrote. “Unfortunately the appeals court overturned the rejection of the plea which we were granted back in April. We need your support to let the state of Alaska know that letting this monster have parole in 14 years is unacceptable and that laws such as these are ridiculous. This state has let my daughter down as well as we, her family.”

Thomas is currently being held at the Cook Inlet Pretrial Facility in Anchorage.

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