Local News

NC Supreme Court to decide whether convicted killer should be freed

Posted April 15

— The North Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about whether a Fayetteville man should be freed more than 30 years after he was convicted of killing two people.

In August, the state Court of Appeals upheld a Superior Court judge’s ruling that Bobby E. Bowden, 64, be released from prison under the state’s old sentencing guidelines, which stated that a life sentence equated to 80 years in prison.

Bowden is serving two concurrent life sentences for the Aug. 7, 1975, shootings at a convenience store. He was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery on Dec. 15, 1975.

Before the state's Fair Sentencing Act, which took effect in 1994, the old prison guidelines allowed prisoners to earn credit toward their release for good behavior.

Bowden's lawyers argued that he should be released with no conditions. State attorneys have argued that the previous law is ambiguous and that Bowden should not be released because he was repeatedly denied parole in the past.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • AliceBToklas Apr 15, 5:12 p.m.

    What about the two people that he murdered ? They sure do not get their life back after 30... View More

    — Posted by rmsmith

    Would you say you believe in the rule of law?

    That's all this is about. Sometimes it works in ways that do not pleasure you, specifically, but that's still the way it works. I trust that it will get decided as it should but it is not for me to judge.

  • rmsmith Apr 15, 3:52 p.m.

    What about the two people that he murdered ? They sure do not get their life back after 30 years.

    Once again, how can we reduce violent crimes when the courts and lawyers reduce the charges. Sorry, do the crime, do the time !

  • couponheather Apr 15, 3:25 p.m.

    How do you serve 2 life sentences "concurrently"?

    I'd love to pay my mortgage and car payment... View More

    — Posted by irishale

    Found him:

  • Paladin2 Apr 15, 2:29 p.m.

    WRALUSER, he was convicted by the rule of law to serve 80 years. Guidelines for good behavior are simply guidelines or rules as are denials of parole. You may be comfortable with arbitrarily releasing this unremorseful killer for some personal reason but the citizenry is not.

  • Goalieman Apr 15, 2:02 p.m.

    "...LIFE SENTENCE!...means till you are dead!"
    If you don't like the law of the old sentencing... View More

    — Posted by lasm

    And you would be right! Fair Sentencing should be a life for a life! Only FAIR way to handle it.

  • timmystrickland4022 Apr 15, 1:32 p.m.

    I think LIFE should mean LIFE

  • mcloudcollin Apr 15, 1:29 p.m.

    Maybe if he would have been on "good behavior" prior to killing two people he wouldn't be in the position he is in. He deserves to stay in prison until he dies.

  • GovernmentMule Apr 15, 1:19 p.m.

    ether or not he was denied parole in the past should have absolutely no bearing on whether or... View More

    — Posted by A person

    No, he hasn't served his term. He was sentenced to 8o years. He's done about 30 years. He still has over half his sentence left.

  • AliceBToklas Apr 15, 1:15 p.m.

    I cannot defend what this man did and may find him repugnant. However, the law should be applied fairly and as interpreted through the courts. If 'life' really meant 80 years when he was sentenced and somehow he has 50 years reduced due to good behavior then that's how it is. I can't say I understand it though. Seems like a large reduction for 30 years good behavior, but I didn't make the rules.

  • irishale Apr 15, 1:10 p.m.

    How do you serve 2 life sentences "concurrently"?

    I'd love to pay my mortgage and car payment "concurrently"...

    Also, interestingly enough, he's not showing on the NC DOC offender search page now....