The Times West Virginian

November 13, 2013

Man charged with wounding, kidnapping

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — A man whose name is familiar to many Marion Countians was arrested Sunday in Barbour County for charges from a domestic dispute Saturday night and is now behind bars at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

William Allen “Bill” Bowman, 55, of Route 2, Box 185, Mannington, was wanted by Marion County sheriff’s deputies following a domestic dispute Saturday night in which he allegedly kidnapped and shot a juvenile nephew in the back.

According to the criminal complaint filed at the Marion County Magistrate Court, Bowman is charged with malicious wounding and kidnapping.

Marion County sheriff’s deputies responded at around 10:30 p.m. Nov. 9 to a report of a victim of a gunshot at Mod’s Run Road near Rachel. He told officers that his uncle, Bill Bowman, had shot him.

“He said Bowman was apparently hiding in the woods nearby his mailbox. As he approached, he heard rustling in the weeds behind him. When he turned around, he realized it was Mr. Bowman standing there,” said Marion County Sheriff Joe Carpenter.

Bowman, allegedly dressed in camouflage, came out of the woods, pointing a gun at the victim. He started yelling at and kicking the victim, and forced him to walk down the road at gunpoint away from his residence.

“At this point,” Carpenter said, “he said he was in fear of his life, that Mr. Bowman was going to shoot him. He turned around and grabbed the gun.”

A struggle followed and the gun was knocked to the ground. The victim “took off running,” Carpenter said.

“He said the next thing he knew, he heard a loud shot and realized he’d been shot in the back.”

He ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911. He was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, Bowman fled in a white Subaru.

Through talking with people who knew Bowman, deputies pieced together a description of the car and where he might be headed. They called that information to law enforcement in Barbour County, who recognized the vehicle and arrested Bowman “without incident” at a traffic stop Sunday afternoon outside Philippi.

Marion County Chief Deputy Wright said Bowman is the same man who blew up the car that severely injured then-deputy Ron Watkins, former Marion County sheriff, on April 26, 1989.

In April 1989, a Farmington police officer tried to stop a white car that had an expired inspection sticker. After a chase, the driver eluded the policeman. The police later found the car abandoned in the woods and had it impounded in a local junkyard.

The car was promptly stolen from the lot and was next seen parked in nearby Worthington two days later. A Marion County deputy sheriff and a tow truck driver arrived to haul it away. When the car’s door was opened, the car exploded. Both men were seriously injured.

Bowman reportedly was released from prison in February. He was reportedly forbidden to be in the Marion County area as a condition of his parole.

Earlier media reports that Bowman was wanted in connection with a possible homicide and that law enforcement are looking for a second person connected to the shooting are false, Carpenter said.

“They might be confusing this with another arrest the same night,” he said. “We saw a car in the same area and went to check on it, and it took off on us. One person was caught and arrested, and charged with fleeing. There is no ‘second guy,’ not on Bowman. That was a nonrelated incident. Maybe that’s where the rumors got started.”

“We received a phone call that Bowman was coming through Philippi,” said Chief Deputy Brett Carpenter with the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department. Aided by a description of the vehicle and of Bowman, law enforcement arrested him at a traffic stop outside Philippi.

Bowman was on the passenger side. Carpenter said he was not sure of the involvement of the driver, who was not identified.

“We’ve been dealing with Bowman here,” Carpenter said. “We’ve never had a problem with him and he’s never given us a problem.

“He’s still on parole (for the 1989 bombing conviction). We’ve never arrested him, but we’ve had to put him in his place a couple of times. The guys have told me they watch him because he has an attitude.”

Marion County deputies are continuing to investigate the incident.

More charges may be pending, said Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick N. Wilson.

Marion County Magistrate Hank Middlemas said bond has not been set for Bowman, who remains at Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

“He refused to be arraigned via video conference,” Middlemas said.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at