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Jury selection begins in mortician's murder trial

Posted September 22, 2008

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— Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of a Rocky Mount funeral home owner accused to arranging his wife's slaying two years ago.

Mark Bowling, the former owner of several Bowling Funeral Home operations in eastern North Carolina, has been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Dec. 8, 2006, shooting death of his wife, Julie Bowling.

The trial was moved to Pitt County because defense attorneys said it would be hard for Bowling to receive a fair trial in Nash County because of the tremendous amount of publicity in the case.

Dressed in a dark suit, Bowling sat quietly with his attorneys Monday as some of the 100 or so potential jurors were questioned. His mother and brother also were in the courtroom.

During the trial, Bowling will face the prosecution's star witness, Rose Vincent, who pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Vincent confessed that she gunned down Julie Bowling in the garage of the Bowling home and that Mark Bowling had provided her with a map and instructions on how to carry out the crime while he was away on a scuba-diving trip. She told investigators that she and Mark Bowling were having an affair and that he asked her to kill his wife so they could be together.

Vincent is serving a minimum 29-year sentence.

The combination of a prominent businessman, a bloody crime, an illicit affair and allegations that Bowling had strippers perform for him in his funeral homes attracted intense media coverage of the case in Rocky Mount.

In an attempt to limit publicity, Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner issued a gag order in January to limit public comments about the case by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Sumner questioned potential jurors Monday about their knowledge of the case. Some said they had read about it in newspapers, but all said they could be impartial.

The Daily Reflector newspaper in Greenville had a front-page story about the trial Monday, and Sumner ordered those in the jury pool not to read it.

Jury selection is expected to take much of this week, and the trial could last two to three weeks.

14 Comments

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  • pam2 Sep 23, 2008

    Wish I was on that jury with you ldw.

  • teacher-mom Sep 22, 2008

    I think she got a lighter charge because she plead guilty. They probably wanted to save taxpayers the expense of the trial. She was probably trying to save her worthless life. She needs to face the death penalty too.

  • teacher-mom Sep 22, 2008

    People murder their spouses because of the money!

  • garden Sep 22, 2008

    I totally agree with Something2say. What man is worth murdering for? He isn't even good looking for pete's sake.

  • Its me again Sep 22, 2008

    Only 29 years for COLD BLOODED MURDER. This is the outrage!

  • teddybear199 Sep 22, 2008

    I feel sorry for all families involved. Not only is Julie's family hurt over this, but Rose was married and had children of her own too (very young children). Imagine what her husband and kids are having to endure.

    I hope there is justice in this case. I hate it has taken this long to bring him to trial.

  • pebbles262004 Sep 22, 2008

    How did she get charged only with 2nd degree when she is the one that killed her, and has she (proved) that he was really in on it, or did she plan it herself just so she could have him...Don't get mad at me for asking, I'm just wondering about it.I know sometimes when people get caught they lie so it will look like someone esle is a fault...

  • ldw Sep 22, 2008

    Wish I were on that jury!!!!!

  • saltydogg Sep 22, 2008

    It was more about the big insurance payout than it was about being with Rose Vincent. He was in debt up to his eyeballs and he had a huge insurance policy on Julie.

  • something2say Sep 22, 2008

    I am trying to wrap my head around how a women is convinced to kill someone's wife! What the heck did she think he would do to her when he got tired of her?

    Honestly divorce is easier and you get to move on in life. Why gamble with your furute? Why committ so a terrible crime? I don't get it!

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