A 35-year-old Yelm woman has been sentenced after being found guilty of murdering her wife in the presence of their children in 2020.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge John Skinder sentenced Zilla Ayana Crowley, who previously identified as Michael Anthony Brower, to 23 years and four months in prison on Sept. 15. He also ordered she be on probation for three years and pay $600 in fines and fees.
Sheriff deputies arrested Crowley on May 21, 2020, on suspicion of fatally shooting Tuyen Dang Ngoc Brower, 30, the day prior. In May 2022, a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder, domestic violence while armed with a firearm and while in the presence of a child.
During the trial, Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Jennifer Lord and Alexis Egolf argued Crowley shot her wife in the chest during an argument that had awoken their four young children.
She reportedly ordered the oldest child back into her room prior to shooting Tuyen Brower, The Olympian previously reported.
Prior to the sentencing hearing, Lord and Egolf requested Skinder sentence Crowley to 30 years in prison. This would have been an exceptional sentence above the standard range of 183-280 months.
In court documents, Lord and Egolf argued Crowley intentionally shot Tuyen Brower while angry. They described Crowley as selfish and controlling.
Additionally, they said Crowley kept loaded firearms throughout the house and practiced drills in front of the family. They added there were known allegations of Crowley being physically violent toward Tuyen Brower in front of the children.
“The children of Tuyen Brower and the defendant now have to work to overcome the experience of living through the power dynamic imposed upon them by the defendant,” Lord and Egolf said in the documents.
The children “suffered terribly” during the shooting and in the aftermath, according to Lord and Egolf. They said the children have lost “any sense of security.”
“It will take years of therapy for some or all of the children to overcome the ramifications of the defendant’s actions, if they are able to overcome them at all,” Lord and Egolf said.
During the hearing, Skinder ordered Crowley to have no contact with her four children for a century.
Crowley’s attorneys, Jenna Norden and Angela Colaiuta, requested a low-end sentence of 15 years and three months in prison. They argued Crowley did not intentionally shoot Tuyen Brower and asked the judge to consider Crowley’s history.
“Ms. Crowley’s social history illustrates a background of early childhood trauma and a background that clearly did not give her many skills or tools to work with in her life,” Norden and Colaiuta said in court documents.
Crowley previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq, according to court documents. She had no prior criminal convictions at the time of her arrest on the murder charge.
However, she was previously accused of fourth-degree assault domestic violence in a Pierce County District Court case that also involved Tuyen Brower. That court ordered Crowley have no contact with her wife for two years, but the order expired in 2019.