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Thread: Ronnie Lee Bowling - Kentucky Death Row

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    Ronnie Lee Bowling - Kentucky Death Row




    Facts of the Crime:

    Was sentenced to death on December 9, 1992 in Laurel County for the murder of two gas station attendants in two separate robberies. Bowling, from Clay County, Kentucky, shot and killed Ronald Smith, a London, Kentucky service station attendant during the early morning of January 20, 1989. Again, in the early morning of February 22, 1989, Marvin Hensley, a service station manager in London, Kentucky was robbed and killed. Bowling was arrested on February 25, 1989.

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    September 20, 2008

    Kentucky Supreme Court affirms death sentence

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of an eastern Kentucky man for two slayings even though the FBI has concluded that an analyst "overstated the significance" of some evidence at his trial.

    A 4-3 split court found that other evidence, besides a now-discredited method for matching bullets, linked Ronnie Lee Bowling, 39, to the slayings of two men in Laurel County in 1989.

    Bowling was convicted in part based on testimony from an FBI analyst, Donald Havekost, that bullets found in Bowling's possession matched those that killed Ronald L. Smith, 28, and Marvin Hensley, 48.

    The justices called the analyst's testimony corroborative of other evidence, including a witness who survived the attacks and other ballistics comparisons.

    "Substantial evidence was presented linking Bowling to the recovered handgun, and likewise linking the recovered handgun to all three crime scenes," four justices wrote for the court's majority.

    Three justices dissented, saying bullet analysis played such a large role in Bowling's trial that there was no way to know what the outcome would have been without that testimony.

    Justice Wil Schroeder noted that prosecutors relied on the analysis in both opening statements and closing arguments.

    "In light of the prosecutor's emphasis on the CBLA, can we say, beyond a reasonable doubt that the error complained of did not contribute to the conviction?" Schroeder wrote.

    Shelly Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, said prosecutors were pleased with the ruling.

    Dennis J. Burke, one of Bowling's public defenders, said the dissenting justices reached the correct result in the case.

    "The reality is that the jury heard expert testimony regarding junk science which was presented as reliable and trustworthy evidence of Ronnie Bowling's guilt," Burke said. "He continues to await a fair trial."

    Barry Scheck, head of The Innocence Project, a legal group that works to overturn wrongful convictions, said the ruling might help others who have similar claims about the use of such analysis. The judges said the discrediting of the analysis amounted to new evidence.

    In doing so, the judges put the burden on prosecutors to show that it did not affect the outcome of the trial, rather than having defendants show that it did affect the jury's decision, Scheck said.

    "That's a big difference," Scheck said. "That's a huge difference."

    Bowling's case is one of 2,500 cases since 1983 involving a now-discredited practice called comparative bullet lead analysis. In 50-to-60 of those cases, including Bowling's, the FBI determined that analysts overstated testimony at trial.

    A National Research Council panel found in 1995 that FBI examiners had repeatedly failed to tell juries bullet matches made on lead comparisons might be mere coincidence. The panel also said FBI analysts failed to fully disclose the possibility of a false match.

    Havekost said at trial that lead in the bullets used in the two slayings matched cartridges found in Bowling's home. Havekost said that meant they originated from the same manufacturer's batch of bullet lead.

    The issue first arose in the case of Shane Ragland of Lexington. Ragland's 2002 murder conviction was overturned in 2006 because bullet lead analysis played a significant role in his case. Ragland pleaded guilty last year to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to time served and three days of home incarceration.

    http://www.kentucky.com/471/story/527783.html

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    April 24, 2009

    Bowling sentence upheld in Laurel murders

    FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the convictions of three death row inmates on Thursday, including the state’s only woman sentenced to death.

    The court upheld the murder convictions of Virginia Caudill, Johnathan Wayne Goforth and Robert Foley.

    Caudill and Goforth were convicted of killing 73-year-old Lonetta White in 1998 by bludgeoning her to death with a hammer. White’s body was then put in the trunk of her own car, which was set ablaze. Foley is a former FBI informant convicted of six killings in eastern Kentucky. He was sentenced to death in 1993 for killing Rodney and Lynn Vaughn during a dispute at his home.

    Both Caudill and Goforth argued they had ineffective attorneys during their trial, which resulted in both being convicted of murder, robbery, burglary, arson and evidence tampering. Both inmates lost a previous appeal before the state supreme court.

    Among other things, Caudill claimed she had an ineffective trial attorney. Caudill claimed an expert witness should have been called in on her behalf to rebut the testimony of a Kentucky State Police forensic examiner who studied blood spatter on her shoes.

    The justices ruled there was no evidence in Caudill’s case that additional expert testimony would have changed the outcome.

    Currently, there are 36 inmates on Kentucky’s death row. Caudill, 48, is the only woman.

    Dennis Burke, one of Caudill’s public defenders, said he intends to ask the court for a rehearing and ask it to reconsider the decision.

    “We are disappointed,” Burke said.

    Goforth had argued, among other things, that his trial attorney made a mistake by not cross-examining Caudill.

    Amy Robinson Staples, who is representing Goforth, declined to comment on the court’s decision because she had not yet reviewed it.

    Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jack Conway, declined to comment on the cases.

    Foley had argued his trial attorney did not properly present his motion to change the venue of his case. The court disagreed.

    Foley is on Kentucky’s death row for more killings than any other condemned inmate. He was sentenced to death for killing 6 people: brothers Rodney and Lynn Vaughn, Kimberly Bowersock, Lillian Contino, Jerry McMillen and Calvin Reynolds.

    Meanwhile, the court also denied a petition for rehearing filed by Ronnie Lee Bowling.

    The court upheld Bowling’s death sentence last year despite an FBI analysis that “overstated the significance” of some evidence presented at his trial. Bowling was convicted partially on the basis of an FBI bullet analysis that linked him to the murders of two Laurel County men in 1989.

    Sentenced to death December 9, 1992 in Laurel County for the murder of two gas station attendants in two separate robberies. Bowling, from Clay County, Kentucky, shot and killed Ronald Smith, a London, Kentucky service station attendant during the early morning of January 20, 1989. Again, in the early morning of February 22, 1989 Marvin Hensley, a service station manager in London, Kentucky was robbed and killed. Bowling was arrested February 25, 1989.

    http://www.clintonherald.com/thetime...114105719.html

  4. #4
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    On May 6, 2009, Bowling filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/ken...cv00157/60578/

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    In Monday's (10/03/11) United States Supreme Court orders, Bowling's petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis was DENIED.

    This is an appeal from the Kentucky Supreme Court.

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    On September 28, 2012, Bowling's habeas petition was DENIED in Federal District Court.

    http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal...028/24381/259/

    On October 25, 2012, Bowling filed an appeal in the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...s/ca6/12-6301/

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    This appeal has another case-number and was filed on November 1, 2012

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...s/ca6/12-6343/

    What is the second appeal about?

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    RONNIE LEE BOWLING v RANDY WHITE, WARDEN

    Court: Kentucky Supreme Court

    Date: September 24, 2015

    Ronnie Lee Bowling, who is currently on Kentuckys death row for two murder convictions obtained in 1992, was also convicted in 1996 of attempted murder. Bowling was sentenced to a twenty year term for the attempted murder conviction, to be served concurrently with the earlier sentence. The 1996 judgment failed to award Bowling his entitled jail-time credit that would mean he had served out that sentence in 2009. The Department of Corrections (DOC), however, treated the twenty-year sentence as though it had been served out at that time. In 2012, Bowling filed a petition for habeas corpus in a federal district court challenging his 1996 conviction. Before the federal court could exercise jurisdiction, it had to determine whether Bowling was in custody under the challenged conviction. The Supreme Court accepted certified questions from the federal court regarding the issue and answered (1) the DOC may award an inmate jail-time credit that was mistakenly left off the judgment of conviction and sentence entered when the trial court was statutorily commanded to award appropriate credit; and (2) whether the DOC properly did so in this case required fact-finding to be done by the district court.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    On March 8, 2017, oral argument will be heard in Bowling's appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The panel will be made up of Judges Clay (Clinton), Gibbons (G.W. Bush) and Stranch (Obama).

    http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/sites/ca...062017_arg.pdf

  10. #10
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Bowling's petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.

    Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    Case Numbers: (15-6318)
    Decision Date: June 8, 2017
    Rehearing Denied: July 12, 2017

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/search....c/17-7688.html

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