Victim: Bonnie Lynn Hower (killed)
The accused: Bryan Hower

Bonnie Lynn_Hower

Bonnie Lynn Hower

White female

Age at time: 33

Weapon: knife


Bryan Hower

White male

Age at time: 33

Weapon: none


Case type:
Domestic dispute

Couple's House



Case year:

Location details: in couple's garage in Lakeland, Polk County, on June 11, 2010

What happened: Bonnie Lynn Hower's uncle reported her missing and deputy discovered her body buried in the woods behind her house during his search of the property. Her husband, Bryan Hower, later told investigators that he strangled his wife after she came at him with a knife during an argument in their garage. She said she was leaving him and taking the children and he covered her mouth so the children wouldn't hear the struggle and squeezed her neck until she stopped moving. Then Hower placed her body in the hole.

The outcome: At the SYG hearing, the judge denied Hower immunity and said the major question for a jury to decide was if Hower acted out of fear for his life or to prevent his wife from taking their two children. In August of 2011, the jury found Hower guilty of first degree murder and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Investigating agency: Polk County Sheriff

Case decision made by: Jury

Trayvon Martin’s death became controversial because circumstances leading up to the shooting cast doubt on who was to blame. The Tampa Bay Times reviewed other “stand your ground” cases for similar circumstances. The Times relied on available information, some of which may not tell the whole story. When the situation was unclear, that was noted.

Yes No Unclear/

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?


Was the victim armed?


Was the victim committing a crime that led to the confrontation?


Did the defendant pursue the victim?


Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?


Was the defendant on his or her property?


Did someone witness the attack?


Was there physical evidence?


Source: Lakeland Ledger, June 12, 2010. Link to original source

Source: Lakeland Ledger, May 17, 2011. Link to original source

Source: Lakeland Ledger, Aug. 31, 2011. Link to original source

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013