FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:May 22, 2019
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
MICHAEL BOWLES SENTENCED FOR 2017 MURDER OF HIS FATHER AND ARSON OF HIS FAMILY HOME
BOWLES TO SERVE TWO CONSECUTIVE LIFE SENTENCES
LEESBURG, Virginia – May 22, 2019. Michael Frederick Bowles, 22, appeared before the Circuit Court of Loudoun County, in custody, for sentencing on one count of first degree murder and one count of arson of an occupied dwelling. Judge Jeanette A. Irby imposed two consecutive life sentences to be served in the Virginia Department of Corrections.
On July 25, 2017, Michael Bowles shot his father, Mario Bowles, three times. Bowles then poured gasoline on his father’s body and set fire to their family home in Lucketts, Virginia. The home continued to burn as Loudoun County Fire and Rescue responded to the location. Neither Mario nor Michael, who were both believed to be in the home at the time of the fire, could be found. Mario Bowles’ remains were located in the home after the fire was extinguished. Michael Bowles was located shortly after 2:00 a.m. on July 26, 2017, less than two miles from the family home. Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Deputies made contact with Michael Bowles and transported him to Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters. Mr. Bowles hands were swabbed and his clothing and cellphone collected. The Virginia Department of Forensic Science analyzed the evidence and confirmed of the presence of gunshot residue on Michael Bowles hands.
Bowles pleaded guilty to the charges on February 25, 2019.
The victim’s family testified at the sentencing hearing on how this event has impacted their lives. “There are no words to describe the damage it’s caused,” said the victim’s sister. “This has torn our family apart,” she continued. The victim’s mother described her son as a kind, giving, loving, and proud man. “My heart is gone. He was my heart,” said Pia Bowles. The victim’s youngest sister took the stand and recounted her brother’s life and her memories of him. She addressed Michael directly, “You murdered your own father.” “I walk around in a depressed fog,” she said. “I will walk around the rest of my life wondering why.” “[Mario] is our angel forever and you cannot take that away,” she told Michael.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy McMullen asked the Court to impose two life sentences, the maximum allowable sentence by law. “Mario never gave up on Michael,” said McMullen. “Instead of returning his father’s love, he extinguished his life,” continued McMullen.
Before imposing a sentence Judge Irby noted that the guidelines in this case were “wholly inapplicable.” “I don’t know if you’re a schizophrenic or a sociopath,” said Irby. “Sometimes parents fail and it’s not through their own actions, but because the person they’re trying to save doesn’t want to be saved, and that’s you.” “We have to protect the rest of the community from children like you.” “You have no rehabilitative potential,” concluded Irby.
“The judge’s sentence reflects this community’s abiding belief that crimes involving this level of violence cannot and will not be tolerated. The defendant’s cruelty toward his father, who loved his son unconditionally, is beyond horrific and justifies the sentence,” said Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann.