Woman charged in daughters' deaths to be extradited

Date: 2009-07-02
Source: gazette.net

Calvert County woman makes first appearance in court, will be moved to Montgomery

by Melissa J. Brachfeld

The Calvert County woman accused of murdering her two daughters when they lived in Aspen Hill and storing their bodies in a freezer for more than two years is scheduled to be extradited to a Montgomery County prison later this month.

Renee D. Bowman, 43, of Lusby, made her first appearance in Montgomery County Circuit Court this afternoon for an arraignment hearing. Looking dazed and disheveled, she wore an orange prison jumpsuit and did not speak as three attorneys discussed her case.

Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Paul B. DeWolfe Jr., who is representing Bowman, told Judge John W. Debelius III he wanted Bowman transferred to a county prison after a July 10 motions hearing in Calvert County so he can have access to her before the case goes to trial. He said he had no objections to holding Bowman without bond.

Debelius called the request "reasonable" and said he saw no problem in facilitating the transfer.

Deputy State's Attorney John Maloney said he and Montgomery County State's Attorney John J. McCarthy will discuss with DeWolfe whether he plans to use an insanity defense.

Bowman was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury last month on two counts of murder, one count of theft and three counts of first-degree child abuse.

She also faces first-and second-degree attempted murder charges and child abuse charges resulting from an investigation into the condition of her surviving daughter in Calvert County. Her trial there is scheduled for Sept. 28.

The bodies of Jasmine Bowman, who was 7, and Minnet Bowman, who was 9, were found in a basement freezer Sept. 27 when the Calvert County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on Bowman's home after a third daughter, then 7, was found wandering around the neighborhood.

The child had jumped 10 feet from a second-floor window after being left home alone and locked in her room, according to charging documents filed Wednesday in Montgomery Circuit Court. She said she feared Bowman was "going to kill her," the documents state.

She told detectives that she and her sisters were locked in their room during the day and forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket, the charging documents state. Bowman also "beat and choked" her and her sisters while living in Aspen Hill, the girl told police.

The girl, whose body police said was covered with cuts and open sores, is being cared for by the Calvert County Department of Social Services.

Bowman adopted all three children in Washington, D.C., and continued to collect remittances from an adoption agency even after the two older girls were dead, McCarthy said.

Although Bowman lived in Prince George's and Charles counties and Washington, D.C., detectives determined that the girls died when the family lived in a rental home on Vandalia Court in Aspen Hill. Bowman lived in the house from 2005 to November 2007, Montgomery County police said.

After Bowman was arrested in Calvert County, Montgomery County police searched the house and yard of the Aspen Hill home where she had lived.

Detectives also interviewed a man who was Bowman's live-in boyfriend at the time, according to the charging documents. He told police that Minnet Bowman went missing just after Mother's Day 2006 and Jasmine Bowman went missing about a month later. When he asked where the girls had gone, Bowman told him they were living in another state with a friend, the charging documents state.

The state Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore determined in December that the two girls died of asphyxiation. The exam also revealed that Jasmine Bowman had lacerations to her scalp and Minnet Bowman had suffered broken bones in her hand and arms before her death, the charging documents state.

McCarthy called the case "extremely sad" as he stood outside the courthouse after the hearing. He said another hearing to discuss motions and trial dates is scheduled for July 31, but he and Maloney hope to meet with DeWolfe as early as next week.

He said it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on the information contained in the charging documents, but called the young girls "vulnerable" and "helpless."

"I think everybody in the criminal justice system has a great deal of sympathy and maybe [by] taking a little bit of responsibility at all levels we can make sure these things don't happen again," he said.

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