In 1998, Rowan killed his wife Debbie using a baseball bat and an ax, and then staging an automobile accident to make it appear Debbie died that way.
A jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. And now, after seven years at Western State, the doctors report that Rowan's condition has stabilized.
Three years ago, doctors convinced a court to allow Rowan to move into a less-secure part of Western State, with permission to travel out side on community visits. Wednesday's order will allow Rowan to leave with several conditions, one being that he must meet with his therapist once a week for the next six months.
A Clallam County prosecutor notified the judge that she has no legal argument against the release. The judge received letters from Debbie Rowan's family, but court officials say the judge is expected to sign the order after brief telephone conversations with Rowan, his attorney and a representative of Western State.
But several people in Port Angeles, who clearly remember what happened seven years ago, expressed concern about the system. Willard Nordman told KOMO 4 News, "This insanity thing; if he could plan the murder and try to make it look like a car wreck, doesn't seem like he was really insane."
Diana Freschette added, "I think we are all responsible for the things we do, and whether you are on drugs or suffer from insanity, I think we all need to responsible."
When Rowan last appeared in court in 2002, he told the judge he did not anticipate becoming a doctor again, saying "I don't think the community would accept that." He added that when he's released, he might go back to school, training to become a medical technician so he could use his expertise.