Local News

NC appeals court upholds ruling that convicted killer should be freed

Posted August 20, 2013 1:12 p.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2014 5:59 a.m. EDT

Bobby Bowden

— The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a Superior Court judge's ruling that a Fayetteville man be freed more than 30 years after he was convicted of killing two people.

Last May, Judge Gregory Weeks ordered that Bobby E. Bowden, 64, be released from prison under North Carolina'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.

Barring any challenges to Tuesday's ruling, Bowden could be released by Sept. 9.