Local News

NC Supreme Court delays convicted killer's release

Posted September 10, 2013 12:15 p.m. EDT

Bobby Bowden

— The North Carolina Supreme Court has delayed the release of a Fayetteville man convicted of killing two people, pending an appeal of a ruling that he be set free.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals last month upheld a Superior Court judge's ruling 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, guidelines allowed prisoners to earn credit toward their release for good behavior. Bowden's lawyers argued that he should be released with no conditions.

Bowden was set to be released Monday, but the state Attorney General's Office requested a stay of the appellate court ruling to give state officials time to appeal the ruling.

A filing by the Attorney General's Office argues that the Supreme Court should review the case because the Court of Appeals decision could impact the cases of other inmates serving life sentences imposed under the old guidelines and "would represent an unprecedented departure" from state policy of releasing life inmates only upon recommendation of the state Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission. The commission has repeatedly denied Bowden's parole requests, according to the filing.