Deputy's family accepts waiver of death penalty for triple killer | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 23, 2017

Deputy's family accepts waiver of death penalty for triple killer

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 10:07 AM

JAMES BOWDEN: Pleads guilty to three slayings.
  • JAMES BOWDEN: Pleads guilty to three slayings.
James Bowden, 42, pleaded guilty today to the May 11 slaying of Yell County sheriff's Lt. Kevin Mainhart and Rita Miller, 61, and Ciera Miller, 17, and was sentenced in a negotiated deal to life in prison without parole.

Bowden killed Mainhart during a traffic stop near Dardanelle. He'd earlier killed the Millers, mother and daughter of his former girlfriend, Haley McHam. McHam has said Bowden became enraged when she wouldn't see him anymore. Mainhart was responding to a domestic disturbance call.

The plea bargain comes a bit more than a month before a scheduled July 27 trial in Yell County. He was charged with three counts of capital murder.  The penalty on conviction is the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Bowden was declared indigent and had a court-appointed attorney. Bill James of Little Rock became his attorney about a month ago and negotiated the plea deal. He said after the court proceeding this morning that it was "very unusual" to resolve a capital case so quickly. But he indicated there was little doubt about his client's responsibility for the crime. The only contest would have been in sentencing.

James saidBowden wanted to resolve the matter quickly so as not to "add to the pain he'd already caused."

Three members of Miller's family testified in court that they wanted the death penalty. James said Deputy Prosecutor Marcus Vaden read a statement from Mainhart's family that said they preferred this outcome to waiting 20 years for a death penalty to be imposed. Vaden presented the negotiated plea to the court, but did not offer an explanation for the office's agreement to accept it, James said.

UPDATE: Deputy Prosecutor Vaden said he'd conferred with Prosecutor Tom Tatum and they agreed on the deal after talking with victims' families.

"We think the facts of this one certainly warranted the death penalty," Vaden said. But he said the problem in the case — and the Mainharts understood it particularly well because of a family history in law enforcement, including his father — is the application of the penalty. "The way it is applied, with the family having to deal with it on a recurring basis, it takes 20 to 30 years to do. I think they understood that if we could plead this to life without parole and put it to bed, that then we can try to begin to put the pieces back together as best we can." He said some in the Miller family had similar thoughts.

"We hope the plea gives the family some peace," Vaden said.

The family's statement spoke of Mainhart's life and dedication to being a fair officer and it emphasized the loss they'd feel in so many ways.  It concluded:

click to enlarge snip.jpg


Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017
  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Saturday open line

    • One of the loveliest Hollywood evenings ever, comes to a crashing end when I make…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Durango, To my great sadness, Benji decided to step back from full time work at…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Maybe Congress has found a tiny little wringer for Donnie's tiny little member. (Baker doesn't…

    • on July 22, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation