Jury seated in murder trial of former Aspen Hill woman

Date: 2010-02-17
Source: gazette.net

Bowman accused of killing two of her daughters; opening arguments to begin Wednesday

by Nathan Carrick

A jury of 10 men and two women were selected this afternoon in the trial of a former Aspen Hill woman accused of murdering two of her adopted daughters and storing their bodies in a freezer.

Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.

Jury selection was delayed this morning when it was discovered defendant Renee Bowman was not in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy, who is prosecuting the case, said Bowman was supposed to remain in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg until her trial, but because of a mix-up had been taken back to a state correctional facility in Jessup earlier this month.

McCarthy called the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office from the courtroom and asked them to bring Bowman there as quickly as possible.

Alan C. Drew and Ronald Gottlieb, the public defenders assigned to Bowman, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Algeo is overseeing the trial.

Jury selection began at 1:30 p.m. and Bowman appeared in court in a white zippered shirt and dark blue jeans, which she complained about being too small. She changed into the clothes shortly before entering the courtroom.

She appeared calm and relaxed when Algeo asked her to stand before the prospective jurors.

Bowman, 44, was indicted in Calvert County in October 2008 after neighbors found her adopted daughter, then 7, wandering the streets near Bowman's home covered in bruises and wearing a blood-soaked shirt.

The bodies of two other daughters were found in a basement freezer after authorities searched Bowman's home in Lusby. Police determined the girls died while the family was living in Aspen Hill.

They later were identified as Jasmine and Minnet Bowman. The state Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore determined in December 2008 the two girls died of asphyxiation.

A Montgomery County grand jury in June indicted Bowman on two counts of murder, one count of theft and three counts of first-degree child abuse.

Bowman pleaded guilty to a first-degree child abuse charge in Calvert County in September and in January was sentenced to 25 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Marjorie Clagett.

All three of Bowman's daughters, for whom she collected state assistance, were adopted in Washington, D.C., records state.

Prosecutors expect the trial to last a week. The jury alternates include two women and one man.

Staff Writer Bob Renneisen contributed to this report.

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