Bowman attorneys ask for trial to be capital case

Police say Bowman kidnapped 14-year-old Eileen Adams at her bus stop in 1967.
Police say Bowman kidnapped 14-year-old Eileen Adams at her bus stop in 1967.

By Lisa Rantala - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - He's accused of abducting and killing a 14-year-old school girl more than four decades ago. Now, the suspect in Toledo's oldest cold case wants to make it a capital case.

It's a request that's been under seal until Wednesday, April 8.

On the run for more than 40 years, 72-year-old Robert Bowman did not escape arrest.

At his arrest, our reporter asked, "Where have you been for the past 40 years?"

Bowman replied, "It isn't your business to ask me these questions."

He did escape the ultimate punishment if found guilty. "The death penalty did not apply in that statute. It was improper. It was unconstitutional, so he can't get the death penalty," explains Legal Expert Jerry Phillips.

So why do his attorneys want to certify his case into a capital case, now? "There's a number of benefits for a defendant if it is a capital case," said Phillips.

The attorneys say the case was a capital case when the crime was committed back in 1967. Phillips tells us, "You have to charge the person with the offense at the time the act was committed."

Police say that's when Bowman kidnapped 14-year-old school girl Eileen Adams at her bus stop. They say he kept her in his basement, tortured her, raped her, strangled her and dumped her body in a Monroe County field.

The most severe charge then was murder in the first degree. That's exactly what he's facing now.

Since the death penalty was found unconstitutional with this charge, prosecutors say it should not be certified as capital and Bowman's defense should not receive extra resources and funds.

"You just have more funds available to do more investigation of the case itself," explains Phillips, "As he said, public defender investigators, expert witnesses that the court would have to pay for."

The big question: Can a case be capital without the possibility of capital punishment? Only the judge can answer that before the case goes to trial this November. If found guilty, Bowman would face life behind bars.