GREENVILLE – A “follower” was the common characteristic used to describe 23-year-old Evan L. Bowman during a plea and sentencing hearing in the Darke County Common Pleas Court Tuesday morning. He was sentenced to serve five years for a 2012 robbery of a local business.
Bowman was part of a duo that allegedly committed three robberies at gunpoint in the City of Greenville in late 2012. He was indicted on one of the three offense dates (Nov. 1, 2012) in which he and his alleged co-defendant, Heath A. Gessler, tying up the 68-year-old clerk at the former Parkside Beverage Dock. Bowman pleaded guilty to one of the first degree felonies in the case – Complicity to Commit Aggravated Robbery. As part of Tuesday’s plea agreement, the state dismissed a count of Aggravated Robbery and a gun specification which carried an mandatory three additional years.
“This is a terrible case,” defense attorney David A. Rohrer stated. “I told Evan what would have happened if someone got hurt… You’d be facing murder charges.”
“Evan was a following the lead of his friend. I told him he should have divorced himself when he learned what was going on, but unfortunately he didn’t,” Rohrer noted.
Bowman had several members of his church and family present in the courtroom who made supporting statements to the court on his behalf.
“I was wrong and I should have walked away when I had the chance… but I didn’t,” Bowman told the court prior to sentencing.
On the other side of the courtroom, a number of victims and family members gathered to watch the proceedings. The daughter of the former drive-thru clerk addressed the court and read a written statement on behalf of her mother directly to Bowman.
“You had the power to stop your own actions… whether you’re a follower or a leader, you’re a grown man,” she emotionally told Bowman. “She wondered if that was the last moments of her life, as she sat there tied up with you tormenting her over and over again.”
“You tied her up and you knew he (co-defendant) was going to pull that gun in her face and you did nothing to stop it,” she added. “As a daughter… how dare you do that to my mom! I know I should forgive you, but I just can’t.”
Emotions clearly took over as she read the statement until Judge Jonathan P. Hein asked her to “please wrap it up”.
“There have not been too many good days since you did this… but today is a good day since you will be going away for a long time,” she concluded.
According to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Deborah S. Quigley, Bowman has fully cooperated with the state since his arrest in October. He has agreed to work with the state against his co-defendant (Gessler), if his case goes to trial. Gessler faces six serious felonies in the case, including three gun specifications, after being indicted for each of the three armed robberies. He currently remains free on a $150,000 bond, pending pre-trial later this month.
“We hear about this kind of stuff in Dayton, but this kind of gun play, restraint and destruction of property unsettles the quiet peaceful fabric of the community,” Judge Hein told Bowman as he imposed sentencing.
For being convicted of a felony of the first degree, Bowman will be required to be placed on a mandatory 60 months of post release supervision after completing the sentence.