Mother of dead frozen girls won't go for insanity defense

Date: 2010-02-14

By: Freeman Klopott

The Maryland woman accused of killing two of her adopted daughters and toting their remains around the state in a freezer is not expected to mount an insanity defense during her trial, which is scheduled to start Tuesday.

Renee Bowman has already been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to abusing her third adopted daughter, age 7, in Calvert County. It was the discovery of the girl, wandering the streets of Lusby caked in mud and blood, by a neighbor that eventually led police to the freezer and the bodies September 2008. The deadline for filing for an insanity defense has long since passed, prosecutors said.

Calls to her attorney by The Examiner were not returned.

Police said Bowman carried the bodies of the dead girls -- ages 9 and 11 -- in a freezer for at least a year as she moved from Rockville to the Bryan Road area of Charles County before finally settling in Lusby, where police found them entombed in a block of ice.

Law enforcement officials said Bowman told them one of the girls died of starvation and the other died after falling backward while Bowman was beating her, but a medical examiner concluded both girls died of asphyxiation.

According to court documents, the surviving daughter jumped from her bedroom room, "fearing her mother was going to kill her." Her body was covered in bruises, and a medical exam found evidence of old injuries to her head, arms and legs.

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy is prosecuting the case himself. His spokeswoman said during the trial he will provide evidence of abuse dating back to 2005.

In January 2008, a Maryland Department of Human Resources caseworker visited Bowman's Charles County home in response to an anonymous call alleging child neglect, the agency said in a statement. Bowman was living under a false name and the caseworker found no evidence of child abuse.

Child welfare advocates have expressed shock that the District of Columbia allowed Bowman to adopt the girls despite a bumpy personal history. In 1999, she was convicted of a misdemeanor for threatening physical violence against a 72-year-old man. She filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

District officials said she received $2,400 a month to care for the girls

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