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Jurors in the Robert Bowman murder retrial were sequestered Thursday night by a Lucas County Common Pleas Judge after failing to reach a verdict.
Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda ordered that the jury be brought back to the courtroom to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Friday. They deliberated about nine hours Thursday.
Bowman is charged with the slaying more than 40 years ago of Sylvania Township teen Eileen Adams.
The jury of nine women and three men
. is the second to consider the case in the past two months. Bowman’s first trial ended Aug. 23 in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked in a 10 to 2 vote for conviction.
After eight days of testimony in this second trial, including from Bowman himself, jurors listened to closing arguments of attorneys, who outlined the case that began with Eileen Adams’ disappearance after school in 1967.
The 14-year-old’s body was found tied up and bound in a rug on Jan. 30, 1968. Her hands had been tied, a cord stretched from around her neck to her ankles, and a nail had been driven into the back of her skull.
Bowman, 75, is charged with murder in the first degree. Judge Gene Zmuda explained that jurors would have to find that he “purposefully and with deliberate and premeditated malice did kill Eileen Adams.”
Jurors can also consider a lesser included offense of murder in the second degree, which excludes “deliberate and premeditated” from the necessary elements. Both charges are punishable by life in prison.
A total of 20 witnesses testified — including four on the behalf of the defense — and nearly 125 state exhibits and 35 defense exhibits were introduced.
John Weglian, chief of the special units division for the prosecutor’s office, reviewed the testimony of some of the witnesses, including Bowman’s ex-wife, Margaret, who said she first came forward to police in December, 1981, with information implicating her then-husband.
Despite Bowman’s testimony that his ex-wife was a habitual liar, Mr. Weglian pointed out the many consistencies he said existed in her testimony.
He then asked jurors to consider when judging Ms. Bowman’s credibility that she said her ex-husband “committed this crime long before she knew anything about DNA.”
Mr. Weglian recounted the testimony of several DNA analysts who testified about various tests completed on Miss Adams’ clothing in 2006 and 2008. A partial DNA profile found in a semen stain in Miss Adams’ underwear could not exclude Bowman as the potential source.
Mr. Weglian reminded jurors that DNA analysts testified that the probability of finding that partial profile in the population was 1 in 4.1 million. He then noted that the population of Ohio in 1970 was 10.6 million.
“That would mean there was one person, one adult male in the entire state of Ohio, with that profile,” he said. “That person was Robert Bowman, who lived within a half-mile of where Eileen got off the bus …”
Bowman’s attorney, Pete Rost, asked jurors to scrutinize the state’s evidence, and the evidence that they did not produce. Noting that it is a case that would evoke sympathy, he reminded jurors that they should reach a verdict based solely on the evidence.
He asked them to consider why Bowman was not arrested in the early ’80s despite Ms. Bowman’s statements.
“The best reason you shouldn’t believe her is because they didn’t believe her in 1982,” he said. “… If you believe what she said she saw, then there is no doubt. They are asking you now to believe Margaret Bowman when they didn’t believe her in 1982.”
After more than three days worth of jury selection, the trial began Oct. 14 when jurors were transported to key venues in the case, including the house where Ms. Bowman said she saw the girl and the rural area in Whiteford Township where Miss Adams’ body was found.
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.