LARGO — William Bolling did not apologize, and he did not explain. But he did admit in court on Friday that he shot and killed his wife, Vicki Bolling, a mother and former assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"So you understand you will die in prison?" Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Chris Helinger asked.
"Yes ma'am," said Bolling, 73.
This was the result of a plea arrangement between defense attorneys and prosecutors.
Vicki Bolling's adult sons, John and Michael Stevenson, attended the hearing and said William Bolling — their stepfather — had abused their mother for years.
They said Bolling drank heavily, but stressed that this murder was not a case of a man who drank too much one time and did something out of character. John Stevenson said his mother suffered from 32 years of abuse "of magnitudes that I could not explain."
Bolling delighted in deriding people in public, he said, "so everyone knew he was the man, knew he had the power."
Duke Wheeler, a retired senior project manager with the NRC, said Vicki Bolling had such a "sterling" reputation within the agency that she kept her job through several successive administrations, even though incoming directors often bring in their own executive staff. He appeared in court Friday on behalf of the commission.
Bolling was 72 when he got drunk, argued with his wife, then shot her three times in May 2012 outside their house in the Harbor Isle subdivision in northeast St. Petersburg. Vicki Bolling was 64.