State News

Judge orders release of convicted Fayetteville killer

Posted May 9, 2012

Bobby Bowden

— A Cumberland County judge has ordered that a man imprisoned for decades after a double murder conviction should be released because he has served his time under North Carolina's old sentencing guidelines.

The Fayetteville Observer reports ( Judge Greg Weeks on Tuesday ordered 63-year-old Bobby E. Bowden to be released from prison by 5 p.m. Friday.

The Fayetteville man has been incarcerated since his arrest and conviction for the deaths of two people at a convenience store in 1975.

State lawyers had argued that a life sentence should mean Bowden stays in prison the rest of his life and shouldn't be able to reduce his sentence with good behavior credits. But Weeks said Bowden had been earning the credits until 2009, and that the state can't change the rules retroactively.

The state Attorney General's Office plans to appeal the ruling, spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.

Weeks issued a stay of his order on Wednesday to allow the state Court of Appeals or Supreme Court to rule on the case.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Whatchawannaknofer May 17, 2012

    Gabe - Thanks for the update.

  • Whatchawannaknofer May 17, 2012

    "State lawyers had argued that a life sentence should mean Bowden stays in prison the rest of his life and shouldn't be able to reduce his sentence with good behavior credits." I agree! Otherwise what's a Life Sentence mean? Until Oscar the Grouch dies???

  • gabewilliams12 May 10, 2012

    Judge Greg Weeks issued the stay Wednesday after the state Department of Correction appealed his order in the case of 63-year-old Bobby Bowden. Weeks had ordered Tuesday that Bowden be released from prison by 5 p.m. Friday.

  • gabewilliams12 May 10, 2012

    Judge Weeks did not impose his sentence, the state of NC did. Judge Weeks is following the law as it was written during that time. I honestly believe the guy should not get out either, but you can blame the judge that had no choice in the matter. He should have been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole and that would have covered his 80 years. There is actually a link to the trial, I can post if you all would like to read it.

  • robinson66 May 10, 2012

    To Bartmeister
    .... AMEN...Haven't we supported him long enough? He shouldn't be released.. the people he killed don't get another chance. There is so much wrong with our justice system.

  • shortcake53 May 10, 2012

    And just how is he supposed to cope with life on the outside?? Do you think he has job prospects? Has the world become a totally different place since 1975?? I give it two weeks or less before he is back "home" behind bars.

  • sarahanne2 May 9, 2012

    jurydoc,I definitely realize it but it is just a "little bit closer to home" when you actually know that a specific person nearby is getting out......suddenly it becomes more of a reality vs. the just plain old knowing that this occurs.

  • aprilhall85 May 9, 2012

    I have had a few laughs at these comments! They are so funny but true...

  • we-r-just-human May 9, 2012

    He killed TWO people stealing and gets out in 37 years... This is not justice...

  • Bartmeister May 9, 2012

    Setting him free is all good and well but I think it's also important to provide him with the support he will need to get used to his new life. piene2

    What would you suggest? A new suit, a couple thousand dollars in a bank account, a car and free rent for a couple years? He had plenty of time in prison to rehab, educate himself, and learn a trade. Perhaps you could open your house to him and give him ALL of the assistance you think he needs.