TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

March 14, 2014

Lily man facing 40-year sentence captured

CORBIN — By John Ross / Staff Writer

Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies captured a Lily man early Thursday morning who was facing a 40-year prison sentence in Knox County — but failed to show up for sentencing.

According to Laurel County Sheriff John Root, Detective and U.S. Marshal Warrant Task Force Officer Jason Back arrested 45-year-old James L. Bowling after learning some information concerning his possible location.

Root said Bowling was arrested in Leslie County, then explained he likely removed his ankle bracelet. Bowling had been jailed in Knox County for two separate cases against him, and was released on $75,000 bond with an ankle bracelet requirement.

The sheriff said Back served Bowling with Knox County bench warrants charging failure to appear in court regarding 10 counts of first-degree rape, two counts of third-degree arson, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, one count of first-degree wanton endangerment, one count of first-degree persistent felony offender and second-degree fleeing and evading police on foot.

Bowling remains jailed for now in the Laurel County Correctional Center without bond.

Bowling had entered into a plea agreement in January in two separate cases against him.

Bowling was handed a 21-count indictment one year ago in March. All charges were related to sex crimes Bowling allegedly committed against a minor, including 10 counts of first-degree rape. All crimes reportedly occurred between April 2010 to July 2012. He was also indicted on charges of first-degree persistent felony offender, after his Laurel County conviction in February 2010 of possession of methamphetamine precursors, and his Knox County conviction in March 1998 for his fourth offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants and first-degree wanton endangerment.

Bowling had already been named on an October 2012 indictment. In that case he was charged with two counts of third-degree arson, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree wanton endangerment, second-degree fleeing or evading police, alcohol intoxication and first-degree persistent felony offender.

In the rape case, Bowling was to enter a guilty plea to amended charges — two counts of second-degree rape. According to the plea agreement, Bowling was to be sentenced to 10 years for each one of those counts — a total of 20 years, as the sentences would run consecutively. The remaining counts of that original indictment would then have been dismissed.

In the arson case, Bowling was to plead guilty to the first two counts on his indictment — two charges of third-degree arson — and plead guilty to the amended charge of second-degree persistent felony offender. The Commonwealth’s recommended sentence in that case was five years on each charge, enhanced to 10 years each with his plea to second-degree persistent felony offender. That totals another 20-year sentence, which is to run consecutively to the first 20-year sentence, according to the plea agreement.

That left Bowling with a 40-year sentence.

Also, Bowling is supposed to pay $21,000 in restitution to two of the property holders who were victimized by his arson crimes. The remaining counts of that original indictment would then have been dismissed.

When Bowling failed to show March 7 for his sentencing hearing in Knox County Circuit Court, Judge Tom Jensen ensured an arrest warrant had been issued.

After court ended, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Danny Evans said that with Bowling “disappearing” while on bond, the plea agreement could possibly be terminated.

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