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Published: Wednesday, 10/19/2011

Detective details interviews in Bowman murder retrial

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Retired Det. Peter Navarre, of the Monroe County Sheriff Department, testifies about his interviews with defendant Robert Bowman during the Bowman's initial trial. He testified again Wednesday during the retrial. Retired Det. Peter Navarre, of the Monroe County Sheriff Department, testifies about his interviews with defendant Robert Bowman during the Bowman's initial trial. He testified again Wednesday during the retrial.
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Seemingly in an attempt to “match wits” with detectives, Robert Bowman made several statements in 1982 interrogations that indicated that he had knowledge of Eileen Adams’ murder decades earlier, a retired Monroe County Sheriff’s detective said Wednesday.

Peter Navarre read from his reports in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Wednesday during the third day of testimony of Bowman’s retrial on a charge of murder in the first degree. The retired detective noted that he interviewed Bowman nearly 30 years ago for several hours at an abandoned restaurant in Florida where Bowman was living.

During those interviews, Bowman made statements such as: “To my knowledge, the murder of Eileen Adams occurred in my house,” Mr. Navarre said. However, the retired detective acknowledged that Bowman never made a confession and was at the time not arrested.

Mr. Navarre was the ninth witness to testify and the only one to testify Wednesday during what was a scheduled half-day. The trial will resume today with Judge Gene Zmuda presiding.

Bowman, 75, is charged in the slaying of Miss Adams, 14, who was reported missing Dec. 18, 1967, when she failed to arrive at her sister’s West Toledo home after school. Her body was found wrapped in a rug in rural Monroe County. Her hands were bound, her ankles were tied to a cord that attached to her neck, and a nail was driven into the back of her skull.

Wednesday, Mr. Navarre testified about two items taken from Bowman’s “domicile,” including a Spider-Man doll that had its ankles and wrists bound and a needle through the front of its forehead. The head of a “Ken doll” was also taken, which had a nail protruding from the back of its head.

Defense attorney Pete Rost questioned Mr. Navarre about numerous other items – including doll parts – that were found in the building. Mr. Navarre acknowledged that what he called “street trash” was considered art to Bowman.

Robert Bowman appears in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Oct. 11. Robert Bowman appears in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Oct. 11.
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The retired detective further testified that he noted in his 1982 report that after his interactions with Bowman, he believed him to be “insane and in need of professional attention.”

Earlier this week, witnesses testified that there were no viable suspects in the case in 1968, despite hundreds of tips and dozens of police interviews. The case went cold until December, 1981, when Bowman’s then estranged wife, Margaret, came forward to police.

Ms. Bowman testified Tuesday about discovering a gagged and naked young girl tied up in her basement. She further testified that Bowman confronted her as she tried to run upstairs, saying that he was now forced to kill the girl.

Ms. Bowman identified a picture in court of Miss Adams as the girl in her basement. She acknowledged when asked by the defense, that the photograph was first shown to her during trial preparation.

Ms. Bowman then stated that she did not go to police for 14 years because she was scared. However, in response to questions from defense, Ms. Bowman acknowledged that she did not leave her husband until he chose to live an alternative, almost “hermit-like” lifestyle.

It was Ms. Bowman’s information that led Mr. Navarre and now retired Toledo police detective Dan Brimmer to travel to Florida to interview Bowman, Mr. Navarre testified.

The witnesses in the case have all testified before at Bowman’s first trial in August that ended in a mistrial when the jury could not reach a consensus. Judge Zmuda ordered the current jury of nine women and three men not to consider the previous mistrial “for any purpose.”

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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