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WRAL, Other Media Seek Access to Murder Trial

Posted September 4, 2007

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— Attorneys for WRAL and other media outlets on Monday filed a motion to block an attempt by a former Rocky Mount funeral home owner charged with having his wife killed to exclude the public from pre-trial hearings and have all records in the case sealed.

Mark Bowling is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Julie, who was found shot to death Dec. 8 inside the couple's garage.

Investigators said Rose Vincent pulled the trigger but that Bowling helped her plan the slaying. Bowling and Vincent were in a romantic relationship, according to authorities.

Bowling's attorneys cited intense publicity in asking for limits on public disclosure about the case.

They filed a motion in June asking that all pre-trial hearings be closed to the media and public, that a gag order be issued to prevent attorneys, witnesses and others connected with the case from commenting publicly about it, that all court records in the case be sealed until at least the start of the trial and that cameras be barred from the trial.

But attorneys for the media outlets argued that the U.S. and state constitutions allow for open court proceedings. They contend in their filings that Bowling's attorneys are speculating that media coverage would prevent him from receiving a fair trial.

"Closure of hearings and evidence in this proceeding will only lead to speculation and misunderstanding – and possible suspicion – about the administration of justice," the media's court filings state. "The defendant has in no way demonstrated why this case is extraordinary so as to justify closure of the proceedings."

The next pre-trial hearing in the case will likely be next week, prosecutors said.

12 Comments

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  • shine Sep 5, 2007

    If the pretrial wouldn't HELP Bowling then I would say go ahead - If would somehow distract the trials constitution - I would say not to allow it.

    I want him to have a fair trial - but I want more for Julie to see and have a fair trial and she is NOT there to defend herself.

  • cryinshame Sep 4, 2007

    oh again since its about a white person , wral lets comments fly , but let it be about those thugs of other colors and illegals ,oh no we have to sensor it all

    Response from GOLO:
    There is no stringent criteria, based on race that we use when determining whether or not to allow comments on stories. It depends largely on what we've seen in the past and various other factors which can be found in our terms of service.

    Angela Connor, GOLO Managing Editor

  • Tax Man Sep 4, 2007

    It it our right to have an open case - the public should be allowed in, including the press - maybe not tv cameras, but reporters. Nothing should be sealed, nothing should be excluded except those matters held in conference with the judge in chambers outside of the jurors eyes & ears. Public Trial! No Private Trial.

  • FloydRTurbo Sep 4, 2007

    Bowling is ugly. Ugly people have no business on TV. No cameras.

  • Red Sep 4, 2007

    "lead to speculation and misunderstanding – and possible suspicion" Like media wouldn't spin it for ratings using the above regardless. This is a constitutional issue over which has higher precedence, the first or the sixth amendment. My personal opinion is that the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the many. This guy should get a fair trial and the media can report it after the fact. I also don't think having cameras in the courtroom serve the public interest.

  • hmmmmmmm Sep 4, 2007

    Dern, now I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight knowing that WRAL didn't get their way :(

  • PikeMom Sep 4, 2007

    Keep the media out of ALL pre-trials...heck they write about whatever they want to anyway.

  • spazman Sep 4, 2007

    MAN the hell with what Mark wants did JULIE want to die?IM sure she didnt

  • FragmentFour Sep 4, 2007

    Having all media excluded from the pre-trial hearings, and gag orders in place on attorneys and witnesses is not a good idea AT all. Having TV cameras excluded may not be a bad idea - but not the print media. Transparency seems to be a big problem in NC lately - not a good sign.

  • haggis basher Sep 4, 2007

    No need to shout!. I agree keep the TV out of court. It just turns it into a Circus (OJ anyone?)
    The justice system is not "Reality TV"

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