Local News

Mistress: Mortician offered $50K to kill wife

Posted September 26, 2008 6:03 a.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2008 5:49 p.m. EDT

— The mistress of a Rocky Mount funeral-home owner accused of plotting to kill his wife two years ago told authorities she pulled the trigger because he asked her to do it.

Mark Bowling, the former owner of several Bowling Funeral Home operations in eastern North Carolina, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Dec. 8, 2006, shooting death of Julie Bowling.

The trial was moved to Pitt County because the intense publicity around the case in Nash County reduced the chance of finding impartial jurors.

Nash County sheriff's deputy Steve Saunders also told the eight-woman, four-man jury Friday that Bowling curiously waited eight hours into an interview with investigators after his wife's death to say the Rose Vincent, his mistress, had been stalking his wife and making threats against her.

"I will know in a few hours who took Julie's life. I just need to look her in the eyes," Saunders quoted Bowling as saying.

Vincent pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and has agreed to testify against Bowling.

She admitted that she gunned down Julie Bowling in the garage of the Bowling home, but said Mark Bowling provided her with a map and instructions on how to carry out the crime while he was away on a scuba-diving trip.

Vincent's statement to investigators was read in court Friday morning. She told them Bowling asked her several times to kill his wife and even threatened to kill himself if she didn't carry it out.

"I know I'm a big girl, but I wouldn't do it if it wasn't for him," she told investigators. "I was like his puppet."

Bowling offered to pay Vincent $50,000 to kill his wife, she told investigators. She said she responded that she didn't want any money, she only wanted to be with him.

Phone records showed Bowling called Vincent the morning of the slaying, and the two had swapped text messages in the preceding days.

Defense attorneys have said that Vincent killed Julie Bowling on her own because she had a "fatal attraction" for Mark Bowling and had to get his wife out of the way so she could be with him.

Vincent is serving at least 29 years in prison for the slaying.

In other testimony Friday, Carmi Guyette, a former Nash County crime-scene investigator, said he found various ammunition in a safe inside the Bowling home, including .32-caliber Smith & Wesson bullets. The gun that Vincent said she used in the crime was a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson, he said.

The trial is expected to continue Monday.