Robert Bowman confers with attorney Pete Rost during his trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Friday, August 19, 2011. He is accused of killing of 14-year-old Eileen Adams in 1967. Bowman decided not to testify and the defense rested on Friday.
After a total of 17 witnesses testified over a period of seven days, both state and defense attorneys concluded their cases Friday in the cold case murder trial of Robert Bowman.
Bowman, 75, is charged with murder in the first degree for the 1967 death of Eileen Adams. According to testimony throughout the two-week trial, the 14-year-old Sylvania Township girl was last seen Dec. 18, 1967, on a city bus after school.
The teenager remained missing for more than a month until her bound body was found Jan. 30, 1968, in a Monroe County field, witnesses testified. Her hands were tied in front of her and her ankles were bound with a cord that attached to her neck. In the back of her shattered skull protruded a nail.
Friday, the defense called its sole witness, the assistant laboratory director of a private DNA laboratory in Fairfield, Ohio. Julie Heinig of DNA Diagnostic Center said that the amount of DNA found on some evidence was so small that it was agreed that an independent laboratory do testing.
Ms. Heinig testified that her lab conducted tests on multiple pieces of evidence, including a pair of the victim’s thermal underwear on which a semen stain had previously been tested and a swab of the nail that was found driven into Miss Adams’ skull. She said that no male DNA was detected on the items tested.
Ms. Heinig further testified that she reviewed the tests done by analysts at the state-run laboratory and agreed with their conclusions, including a 2006 test that linked Bowman to the semen stain found on the victim’s clothing. In that test, because the small amount of DNA was degraded, only 10 of the 16 locations on the DNA strand could be compared.
The results of that test showed that the statistical likelihood of finding that DNA profile in the general population is 1 in 4.1 million. Ms. Heinig agreed with that result, but provided further statistics on subsequent DNA tests done on the thermal underwear in which fewer than 10 locations were found.
Specifically, a 2008 test provided a statistical analysis of 1 in 10 people, she said.
Ms. Heinig acknowledged that although the more complete profile was found years ago, it is appropriate to use that test result when completing a statistic. She further acknowledged that finding 10 locations in a sample that is more than 40 years old and that had been outside for more than a month before being discovered “is enough for comparison.”
DNA was found on the victim’s clothing in 2006 after cold case detectives reopened the long unsolved case. Although a suspect after his former wife went to authorities in 1981 saying she had seen the teenager tied up in her basement, Bowman was interviewed but never arrested.
Using DNA results from a reverse paternity test, Bowman once again was identified as a suspect and an arrest warrant was issued in November, 2006, witnesses testified.
He was arrested in California in 2008 and a subsequent test using his DNA was performed confirming the earlier results.
Friday, Bowman was given time to discuss with his attorneys whether he would testify in his own defense. In response to questions posed by Judge Gene Zmuda, Bowman stated that he was accepting advice of his attorneys and so chose not to testify.
Judge Zmuda told the jury of nine women and three men to anticipate hearing closing arguments from attorneys Monday morning. They will also be given legal instructions before beginning to deliberate.
Contact Erica Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.
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