State of Missouri vs. Gregory Bowman

SC90618 – Velda Rumfelt was murdered in 1977. There were ligature marks and a laceration around her throat. The medical examiner concluded that strangulation was the cause of death. No one was charged with the murder.

In 1979, Gregory Bowman was convicted in Illinois of killing Ruth Ann Jany and Elizabeth West and was sentenced to two concurrent terms of life imprisonment. In 2001, the convictions were vacated and new trials were ordered on grounds that Bowman’s confessions were coerced. Bowman remained in jail in Illinois until he posted bail in 2007.

Shortly after Bowman’s release from jail, James Rokita, an investigator with the Belleville, Illinois, police department, forwarded Bowman’s DNA profile to the St. Louis County police department. St. Louis County investigators compared Bowman’s DNA profile to the DNA profile extracted from sperm recovered from Rumfelt’s underwear. Bowman’s DNA profile matched the DNA profile of the sperm recovered from Rumfelt’s underwear. Bowman was charged with Rumfelt’s murder.

The State presented evidence that Bowman’s DNA was found in Rumfelt’s underwear. Dr. Mary Case, the St. Louis County medical examiner, testified that the cause of death was strangulation and that Rumfelt was the victim of a probable sexual assault. One of Rumfelt’s friends testified that she saw Rumfelt walking with an unidentified young man on the evening of June 5, 1977. Another friend testified that she saw Rumfelt on the morning of June 6, 1977. Rumfelt’s body was discovered on June 7, 1977. The jury convicted Bowman of first-degree murder.