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Rapists could face life in prison

Jury deliberates for 16 hours in child molestation case

Managing editor

Three Peabody residents, Terry L. Bowen, 64, Kenneth L. Frederick II, 21, and Lora J. Gay, 38, were found guilty early Thursday morning after a jury deliberated for more than 16 hours.

They each could be sentenced to a minimum of nearly 37 years to more than 163 years for their crimes.

The crimes were committed on or between June 23 and 24, 2010, against a then-14-year-old Peabody girl.

Bowen, Frederick, and Gay were found guilty of rape of a child, aiding and abetting in the rape of a child, aggravated criminal sodomy, and aggravated kidnapping. Frederick and Gay also were convicted of criminal threat.

The defendants were acquitted of battery charges.

Deliberation

The jury began its marathon deliberation at 8:45 a.m. June 29.

At 5:30 p.m., Eighth Judicial District Court Chief Judge Michael Powers sent a note to the jury, asking if they wanted to adjourn for the day or continue deliberations. The jury indicated it wanted to continue and resolve the matter that evening.

As attorneys, court staff, and families waited in the hall, the jury sent word at 10:45 p.m. that they were close to making a decision but more time passed.

The jury requested the legal definition of “confinement” at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, which was used in the kidnapping charges. The three defendants and attorneys were summoned to the courtroom to discuss the question. After hearing arguments from the prosecution to provide the definition and from the defense to deny the request, Powers overruled the defenses’ objections and agreed to provide the information to the jury.

Another note came from the jury at 12:45 a.m. The details of that note were not revealed. At 1:15 a.m., the jury indicated it had a verdict. The defendants were escorted to the courtroom, this time in street clothes but in shackles.

Nearly a dozen law enforcement officers were on hand both times the defendants were returned to the courtroom.

As clerk Jan Helmer read the verdicts, there was no emotion from the defendants.

The defendants were returned to the jail and officers escorted members of the jury to their vehicles.

Sentencing guidelines

Convictions of rape, sodomy, and kidnapping carry minimum sentences of 12¼ years for each charge and a maximum of 54½ years for each charge. Bowen, Frederick, and Gay could face sentencing of nearly 37 years to more than 163 years.

A pre-sentencing investigation will include all previous convictions of the defendants.

It was noted in the case against Bowen that he was convicted of sex crimes in the past in Marion County.

In 1994, he was charged with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, two counts of rape of a child, and three counts of indecent solicitation of a child. The complaint was amended to sexual battery with the original six charges being dismissed with Bowen’s guilty plea.

Bowen served a year in the county jail.

In 1999, Bowen pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. In return, a charge of indecent liberties with a child was dismissed.

He served two years in prison.

Other charges he has been convicted of include three counts of burglary and four counts of theft in March 1965 in Newton; theft in 1974 in Texas; disorderly conduct in 1988 in Marion; a motor carrier violation in 1988 in Reno County; and burglary in 1989 in Tennessee.

About the case

According to Police Chief Bruce Burke, who initially investigated the case, there was no physical evidence, such as DNA, obtained in the case.

“The case was built on literally hundreds of hours of investigation and talking to the victim, her parents, experts, and law enforcement,” Burke said. “I think this shows that a case can be made and a conviction reached without physical evidence. It is a very good example of what can happen when a painstaking effort is made to pull all of the information together.”

Burke also attributes the convictions to the work of the three prosecutors — two from the Kansas attorney general’s office and county attorney Susan Robson.

Lead prosecutor and assistant attorney general C.W. Klebe was contacted for comment.

The attorney general’s office released this statement, “We thank the jury for their diligent service. They worked long into the night coming to their decision, and we are pleased with the results.”

Last modified July 6, 2011

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