Killer: 'I Shot Her Until the Gun Stopped'
Posted February 28, 2008 9:58 a.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2008 9:14 p.m. EST
Rocky Mount, N.C. — A Rocky Mount woman pleaded guilty Thursday to gunning down a mortician's wife in late 2006 as part of a scheme to be with the woman's husband.
Rose Vincent pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Dec. 8, 2006, slaying of Julie Bowling. The plea deal spares her life – she had been charged with first-degree murder and faced the prospect of a death sentence – and sets her up to be the star witness in the trial of Bowling's husband.
Mark Bowling, the former owner of several Bowling Funeral Home operations in eastern North Carolina, also has been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. No date has been set for his trial.
Vincent was sentenced to 189 to 236 months in prison on the murder charge and 159 to 191 months for conspiracy. She must serve the sentences consecutively, giving her a minimum sentence of 29 years.
She showed no emotion during Thursday's court hearing, but she turned to Julie Bowling's family near the end and mumbled an apology. Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner then ordered her to repeat the apology so everyone in the courtroom could hear.
"I'd like to tell the family I am sorry. I really am," she said.
Vincent 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, according to a statement read in court by Nash County Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner.
Bowling gave Vincent a map to his house, provided her with details of his wife's daily routine and dismantled a motion sensor outside his garage, Werner said. The plan was for Vincent to kill Julie Bowling as she left for work on a morning when Mark Bowling was out of town on a scuba-diving trip.
Vincent told investigators that Julie Bowling "freaked out" as Vincent approached her in the garage, and Bowling started to run. Vincent said she called out to Bowling, who stopped and turned toward her, and she fired the gun.
"I shot her until the gun stopped," Vincent said in the statement that Werner read.
Vincent then took the gun and buried it in a family cemetery plot in Nash County. Investigators later found the gun and determined it was the murder weapon.
Werner said Vincent would be put up "for safekeeping" until Bowling's trial, making it unclear whether she was being housed somewhere other than state prison.
Sumner issued a gag order in the case last month, preventing attorneys from commenting on the proceedings after the hearing.
Julie Bowling's family declined to comment.
Minutes after Vincent's plea hearing, Mark Bowling appeared in court. His attorneys asked prosecutors to let them review more than 90 pieces of evidence before his trial.