Looking at a large photograph of Eileen Adams projected on a screen in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Margaret Bowman identified her as the same “young lady” whom she found bound and gagged in her basement more than 40 years ago.
“I found a young lady with her arms stretched out like Jesus with mattresses all around the whole room,” Ms. Bowman testified.
When asked if she helped the captive, Ms. Bowman responded, “No. I screamed. I ran up the stairs. He caught me on the landing.”
Ms. Bowman testified Tuesday during the second day of testimony at the first-degree murder trial of her ex-husband, Robert Bowman, who is being tried for the second time. His first trial ended Aug. 23 in a hung jury and was declared a mistrial.
Bowman, 75, is charged with the slaying of Miss Adams, who disappeared on her way home from school on Dec. 18, 1967. Her body was found 43 days later in rural Monroe County, bound and wrapped in a rug.
Ms. Bowman recounted discovering Miss Adams in her basement in the home she shared with Bowman and their daughter on West Sylvania Avenue. She said that she encountered Bowman at the top of the basement steps where he began “ranting and raving” at her to stay out of his business.
“[He said,] ‘Now I have to kill her,” she testified.
Ms. Bowman said her husband then forced her and her baby to accompany him to dispose of the body “somewhere in Michigan.”
Ms. Bowman, who has since divorced Bowman, acknowledged that she did not go to police then or for many years after the incident, saying that she was afraid of her then-husband. It wasn’t until 1981, after years of drinking and recent nightmares, that she told police what she knew, she testified.
In response to questions by defense attorney Jane Roman, Ms. Bowman acknowledged that for years she lived a comfortable lifestyle with Bowman, in which she did not work. It wasn’t until Bowman gave up his possessions to follow what she described as a “cult” that Ms. Bowman acknowledged leaving her husband, who at the time had moved the family to Florida.
Ms. Bowman said she left her husband in 1978. The first time she saw him again was at his first trial in August.
Ms. Bowman was one of eight witnesses to testify at Bowman’s retrial. A jury of nine women and three men, as well as four alternates, is hearing the case.
According to witness testimony given Monday, the teenager was on her way to her sister’s West Toledo house after school when she disappeared. Retired law enforcement officers testified that the victim was found bound in a rug with her hands tied and a cord connecting her neck to her ankles. A nail had been driven into the back of her skull.
Also testifying Tuesday were retired detectives, who were involved in the case after Ms. Bowman came forward in 1981. Retired Detective Robert Lynch of the North Miami Police Department and retired Toledo Police Detective Dan Brimmer both testified about interviewing Bowman in an abandoned restaurant in Florida where he lived.
Mr. Brimmer testified finding a Spider-Man doll, with its wrists and ankles bound and a needle protruding from the front of its head, hanging in Bowman’s living quarters. He also identified a head of a Ken doll with a nail driven into the back of its head as being taken from Bowman’s belongings.
Mr. Brimmer, who after retirement in 1988 married the older sister of Eileen Adams, Mary Ann, said Bowman spoke to detectives for several hours but never made a confession.
When questioned by defense attorney Pete Rost, Mr. Brimmer acknowledged that there were several differences between the Spider-Man doll and the way Miss Adams’ body was discovered. He further acknowledged that Bowman was not arrested at the time of the interviews with him.
Prior to the start of testimony, Judge Gene Zmuda noted for jurors that Bowman’s first trial ended in a mistrial. He then ordered jurors not to consider “for any purpose” that the case had been tried before.
Additional testimony is scheduled for Wednesday.
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.