A retired NYPD officer was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for breaking into his estranged wife's Middle Island home, shooting her five times and leaving her for dead.
The victim, Michelle Fowler, 48, vividly recounted her ordeal in court before Darryl Fowler, 44, learned his fate. She recalled the smell of gunpowder on the night of Oct. 20, 2009, and the screams of her teen daughter Chelsea, who called 911 for help.
"I felt the bullets enter my body as they burned through my skin. You violated me as if I was not a human being but like you were a hunter slaughtering your next meal," she said.
"I felt my life slipping away," she said. "I saw the light and I told Chelsea goodbye. Chelsea screamed louder and I told her it was OK. 'I'm not going to make it, and Mommy loves you.' "
Darryl Fowler apologized to her, saying "I'm very sorry for the pain" he caused, before the sentence was imposed by Justice Robert Doyle in State Supreme Court in Riverhead.
Officials said Darryl Fowler, of Amityville, who served in the NYPD from 1992 to 1998, attacked his wife after learning he would not get a job with her employer because an order of protection barred him from being near her. On June 1, he pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and other charges.
John Cortes, an assistant Suffolk County district attorney, told the court that on the night of the attack Darryl Fowler "was there with one purpose: to be an executioner." It was only swift medical attention that saved Michelle's life, he said, adding that Fowler "dishonored the badge he once wore."
Michelle Fowler said outside the courtroom that she was somewhat satisfied with the sentence, though "as a victim, you want the person to never come out [of prison]."
Cortes said, "We're satisfied with the outcome. He's going away for a long time."
Michelle Fowler told the court she is still physically and psychologically scarred by the attack. She said several of the bullets entered her chest and exited her back, and that she still has many bullet fragments in her body. "For 16 months I was unable to take care of myself or my children. I could not comb my hair, brush my teeth or feed myself," she said.
She said she thinks she survived the shooting only because of her good physical condition -- she used to run five miles a day -- and her faith in God.