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Mortician's mistress expresses regret over slaying

For the first time since she and Mark Bowling were convicted of killing Bowling's wife, Rose Vincent discusses the love triangle that led to murder.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A Nash County woman said a funeral home owner exercised such control over her that she ignored her better judgment and gunned down his wife two years ago because he asked her to do it.

In her first public statements since she and Mark Bowling were convicted of the Dec. 8, 2006, shooting death of Julie Bowling, Rose Vincent said she still loves Mark Bowling but will always regret going along with his murder plot.

"I never did it for money, never did. I did it because I loved him blindly," Vincent told WRAL News in an exclusive interview from North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women.

Vincent pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and is serving at least 29 years in prison.

Mark Bowling, the former owner of several Bowling Funeral Home operations in eastern North Carolina, pleaded guilty in September to the same charges and was sentenced to 189 to 236 months in prison. His plea came shortly before Vincent was to testify against him during his high-profile trial.

The sentencing disparity irritates Vincent, who says Bowling masterminded the shooting. He provided her with a map and instructions on how to carry out the crime while he was away on a scuba-diving trip, and he even offered to pay her $50,000, she said.

“He’s the reason, really, why she’s dead, and it really bothers me the fact that we didn’t get at least the same sentence,” she said. “This was his plan. This was his baby. This was his everything. The difference was he didn’t have the (guts) to pull the trigger.”

Both the Nash County District Attorney’s Office and Bowling’s attorneys declined to comment on Vincent’s comments.

Vincent, 28, said she and Bowling had an off-and-on affair since she was 19, despite the fact that each was married and that Vincent had children.

“At the time, I thought it was great, but ‘I love you’ is just words,” she said in a voice tinged with bitterness.

Eventually, she said, Bowling became the center of her life, and when he asked her to kill his wife, she couldn’t refuse.

“I put Mark in the place of God, so when he told me it was either his life or Miss Julie’s, it was like, what on earth am I going to do?” she said.

Shooting Julie Bowling in the garage of the Bowling home was like an out-of-body experience, Vincent said.

“It was like I was standing beside myself, and there was nothing I could do to stop it,” she said. “I heard Mark’s voice in my head saying, ‘You got to keep shooting her until the gun stop.’”

After her arrest, she tried to shield Bowling from the investigation until deputies told her he had implicated her in the slaying.

Bowling’s attorneys maintained through the beginning of his murder trial 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.

The murder investigation and convictions have dulled her feelings for Bowling.

“I still love him, but I got a lot of hate for him at the same time,” she said, noting that she was sharing her story so that other women could avoid falling into a similar situation.

Instead of all-consuming love, she said, she is filled with gnawing regret over murdering for love.

“It’s something that I have to live with for the rest of my life … to know that I played God,” she said. “I wish my doubts, I wish my conscience, I wish everything inside of me that I was raised to be would have overridden (Bowling’s voice in her head), but it didn’t.

“I am truly sorry, but a million sorries is never going to fix it.”

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Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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