Local News

Funeral Home Owner Now Accused of Asking Stripper to Kill Wife

Posted May 16, 2007 7:04 p.m. EDT

— A Rocky Mount funeral home owner accused of plotting with his girlfriend to kill his wife now faces charges that he allegedly asked a former stripper to kill his wife first.

This week, a grand jury indicted Mark Bowling on charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

The indictment says he asked Ashley Brown to kill Julie Bowling on Nov. 22, two weeks before a neighbor found her shot to death at her home.

Mark Bowling was out of town at the time of his wife's death, authorities said, but was arrested after his alleged mistress, Rose Vincent, told police she drove to the couple's home and shot Julie Bowling multiple times.

Jackie Graves, the owner of Diamond Escorts in Rocky Mount, said Brown worked as a stripper and performed for Bowling at a bachelor party at an apartment above Bowling's Funeral Home in January 2006 but questions his former employee's story.

"I believe she got in trouble, if you check her records, over a bunch of worthless checks," Graves said. "And she's looking for an easy way out, and she's not looking at the consequences of what she's doing."

Brown could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Graves said the State Bureau of Identification interviewed him and all the women who performed at the party.

"When they came and interviewed her, she called me back and said she didn't even know he was married," Graves aid. "And that was in January. So, how could she have been solicited in November?" Graves said.

Graves fired Brown last summer after she got into legal trouble, he said. She faces numerous charges for writing worthless checks in at least two counties.

Nash County's district attorney declined to comment on specific details that led to the most recent indictment, but said investigators are continuing to sort through new information in the case.

Meanwhile, Bowling and Vincent, who are charged with first-degree murder, remain in police custody. Bowling is at a mental health facility at Central Prison in Raleigh. Vincent is at the Nash County Detention Center.