MIAMI COUNTY — The last image the jury saw Friday was an autopsy photograph of more than 70 facial bone fragments of what was left of Joseph Graley’s face before adjourning to deliberate the facts and testimony of Frank Bowen’s role in Graley’s death last October.
Joseph Graley III, of New Carlisle, was found deceased by blunt force trauma to the head and face in the backyard of his home on Scarff Road in Bethel Township on Oct. 23, 2014. A family member reported Graley missing on Oct. 22. Sheriff’s officials located Frank Bowen, 25, of Tipp City, at Graley’s home during Graley’s welfare check on Oct. 22 and arrested him on an unrelated warrant.
In previous court proceedings, Bowen pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and safe-cracking stemming from his arrest on Oct. 22, 2014.
On Friday, Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee dismissed jurors for the weekend after more than three-and-a-half hours of deliberations in the state’s case against Frank Bowen and his alleged role in the death Graley last October. Deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.
In his closing arguments, Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell presented a photo of Graley smiling with friends.
“This was Joe before the defendant (Bowen) came to stay with him,” said Kendell, displaying the smiling faces of Graley, his girlfriend Haley Haney, and friend Kali Geisecke, both who testified in the trial.
Kendell then displayed the graphic photo of more than 70 tiny pieces of Graley’s facial bones lined up in multiple rows before the jurors.
Holding up the photo of the bone fragments in front of the jury, Kendell said, “Four days later, this is Joe’s face.”
The coroner who performed Graley’s autopsy stated he was unable to determine where the bone fragments belonged in relation to his skull due to the extensive damage to Graley’s face from blunt force trauma.
In his closing arguments, defense attorney Steve Layman stated the jury should deliver a not guilty plea against Bowen based on law enforcement’s failure to secure a probable crime scene when a road deputy stated he thought he detected the odor of Graley’s decaying body during the initial search for his body in the early morning hours of Oct. 23.
Layman also stated that both the DNA and fingerprint experts testified there is not a time stamp on their scientific evidence — including the alleged weapon.
On Friday morning, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation DNA expert Sarah Smith stated DNA matching both Bowen and Graley’s DNA was found on the mini sledgehammer. The tool, found a few feet away from Graley’s body leaning up on a tree, is believed to have been the murder weapon. In her testimony, Smith stated there is not a way to determine how long the prints and DNA may have been left on various objects tested in the case.
Smith also testified there was a 1 in 995,000 chance of someone’s DNA profile to match that of Bowen’s DNA, which was found on the handle of the mini sledgehammer. Layman argued that Bowen’s DNA would be found on multiple household items since he was Graley’s roommate for four days.
Layman called that state’s witnesses’ testimonies a “moving target” in terms of their accounts of both law enforcement activity and Graley’s friends and family who testified against Bowen.
Layman said Bowen cooperated with officials and never denied friends and family access to the house while Graley was missing. Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Janna Parker stated Bowen “hid in plain sight,” and “laid low and played it cool” giving friends and family various stories of possible suicide, a camping trip, and a funeral in Michigan, before authorities were finally alerted.
Parker reiterated Bowen’s statement of Graley’s whereabouts to Miami County Sheriff’s Office investigators on Oct. 23.
“In my heart of hearts, I believe Joe is dead,” is what Bowen told authorities.
“He didn’t believe he was dead — he knew he was dead,” Parker said.
Bowen remains incarcerated in the Miami County Jail on a $250,000 bond. Deliberations will continue on Monday with Miami County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Gee presiding.
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