MIAMI COUNTY — After one full day of deliberations, jurors for the Frank Bowen trial adjourned at 4 p.m. having reached one out of the four possible verdicts in the case on Monday.
Miami County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Gee did not indicate which of the four charges — murder, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and safe-cracking — was reached, but gave the jurors instructions to return on Tuesday at 9 a.m. to continue their deliberations to determine Bowen’s role in the death of Joseph Graley III 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 Bowen, 25, of Tipp City, at Graley’s home during Graley’s welfare check on Oct. 22 and arrested him on an unrelated warrant.
Graley was last seen by his girlfriend on Oct. 7.
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.
In addition to Monday’s full day of deliberations, jurors were dismissed after three-and-a-half hours of deliberations on Friday before being dismissed by Judge Gee at 7:15 p.m. for the weekend.
Gee address one jury question during Monday’s deliberations. The jury had requested transcripts of Miami County Sheriff’s Office Major Steve Lord’s testimony. The judge denied the request.
The four day trial began on July 28 and included testimony from Lord, a road deputy, and detectives from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. Graley’s friends, mother and Bowen’s ex-girlfriend also provided testimony last week.
Ohio Attorney General’s Office expert DNA and finger print analysts, and crime scene investigator from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation also testified in the case.
Last week, DNA expert analyst Sarah Smith from BCI testified the DNA found on the handle of the alleged murder weapon — a mini sledgehammer — matched Bowen’s profile.
Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Lee Lehman performed Graley’s autopsy and testified that 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.
Last week, 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.
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.