Local News

Witness Against Mortician Charged in Robbery

Posted August 17, 2007

— A stripper who said a former Rocky Mount funeral home operator asked her to kill his wife shortly before the woman was murdered has been charged in a home invasion and robbery.

Ashley Elaine Brown, 24, of 1586 Crisp Pinetops Highway in Pinetops, is one of four people charged in a July 31 hold-up at an Edgecombe County residence, authorities said.

Brown, who used to work at Diamond Escorts in Rocky Mount, said she performed for Mark Bowling in a small apartment above his funeral home on as many as nine occasions.

During one of those visits, Brown said Bowling asked her whether she was willing to kill his wife, Julie, or if she knew someone who would. Brown testified to a grand jury that she thought Bowling, who built and owned a chain of mortuaries with his wife, was joking.

A few weeks after the encounter, 45-year-old Julie Bowling was shot to death in the garage of her Rocky Mount home. Mark Bowling and Rose Vincent have been charged with murder in the Dec. 8 slaying.

Authorities said Bowling and Vincent were having a romantic relationship and plotted to kill his wife. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Vincent, who they said carried out the plot while Mark Bowling was in Florida.

On July 31, the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office received a phone tip about a robbery at 3165 Carr Farm Road. Two people brandished firearms and fired at least two shots before taking about $1,100 in cash, a cell phone and three wallets from the occupants of the home, authorities said.

No one inside the home was injured in the incident.

Jerry Mark Plasencio, 29, of 191 Summer Acre Road in Tarboro, and LeMichael Rashad Hill, 20, of 207 Sally Jenkins Street in Pinetops, were both charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count each of first-degree burglary and shooting into an occupied dwelling. Plasencio also was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon

Brown and Jessica Nicole Cherry, 28, of 1586 Crisp Pinetops Highway in Pinetops, were both charged with conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and aiding and abetting armed robbery in the case.


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  • Supie Aug 18, 2007

    story says Bowling asked Ashley Brown if she would kill his wife and she said she thought he was joking. So is she mad someone else got the job? If she thought he was serious would she have given him a better rate? and why did she come forward to be a witness if she is a crook too? blackmail didn't work?

  • Sound Tech Aug 17, 2007

    Her former boss said the reason she made the statements about Bowling before was because she got in trouble with the law and was just trying to throw the dogs in a different direction. The Rocky Mount paper today also said she was a former prostitute. I don't think the DA would have called her to the witness stand anyway because when the defense did its digging on her background it would have only hurt the DA's case.

  • haggis basher Aug 17, 2007

    The prosecution better have some better evidence than that or he might walk free.

  • Glass Half Full Aug 17, 2007

    Will everyone who thought she was a fine upstanding citizen in the first place please raise your hand.

  • GWALLY Aug 17, 2007

    Another example of losers that we the taxpayers will have to support and supply with lawyers plus room and board (jail) for a long time.

    However, if triple murder (Lee County) gets you only 3 years, all these guys should get is 30 days of all this........!!!!

    But wait.....they are not illegal aliens, so they are not protected, hmmmmm, they might be in jail a long time.....!!!!!

  • elcid89 Aug 17, 2007

    And thus begins the credibility challenge.

  • shine Aug 17, 2007

    Joshua......... sorry - oversight - my part..... I read the first just didn't pick up the point.

  • garnertoy Aug 17, 2007

    I know sone couple live in a funeral home what i meant by disresecptful was bringing in strippers

  • Joshua Aug 17, 2007

    shine... please follow along. My comment was directed to 'garnertoy' who stated, "Its bad enough to have his wife killed but to have sex in a Funeral Home how disrespectful". My comment was a reply to his.

  • spazman Aug 17, 2007

    I know the DA loves this witness.YOUR CASE IS GETTEN STRONGER get more like this one