MIAMI COUNTY — After more than four hours of deliberations, a jury found Frank L. Bowen, 26, guilty of the murder of Joseph Graley III, a friend who allowed Bowen to live at his home when he had nowhere else to go in October 2014.
Bowen showed no emotion as Miami County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Gee read the verdict around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The jury also found Bowen guilty of gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
Graley, of New Carlisle, was found deceased by blunt force trauma to the head and face in the backyard of his home on Scarff Road in Bethel Township on Oct. 23, 2014. A friend reported Graley missing on Oct. 22. Sheriff’s officials located Bowen, now 26, of Tipp City, at Graley’s home during Graley’s welfare check on Oct. 22 and arrested him on an unrelated warrant.
Bowen faces 19 to years to life, according to prosecutors.
Defense lawyer Steven King said he would have to confer with attorney Steve Layman on whether or not they would appeal the decision.
“I think the case was well-tried, it’s a clean case,” King said.
Judge Gee set Bowen’s sentencing for Feb. 29.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell said he was pleased with the verdict.
“I think the jurors came to a just conclusion and I’m real happy for the family,” Kendell said.
The last image the jury saw Tuesday was an autopsy photograph of more than 70 facial bone fragments of what was left of Graley’s face before adjourning around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to deliberate the facts and testimony of Bowen’s role in Graley’s death in October 2014.
Bowen did not testify on his own behalf.
Last August, a jury found Bowen guilty of safe-cracking, but failed to reach an agreement on the other three charges.
In his closing arguments, Kendell presented a photo of Graley smiling with friends. Kendell displayed the photo of the smiling faces of Graley, his girlfriend Haley Haney, and friend Kali Geisecke, both of whom testified in the trial.
Kendell then displayed the graphic photo of more than 70 tiny pieces of Graley’s facial bones lined up in multiple rows before the jurors.
Holding up the photo of the bone fragments in front of the jury, Kendell said, “This is his face, four days after Joe graciously took (Bowen) in when he didn’t have any place to go.”
Public defender Steve Layman said Bowen was cooperative with authorities for three hours after his arrest and he never denied access to Graley’s home to family or friends. Layman said law enforcement failed to secure the property for several hours and the lead detective, Lt. Steve Lord divulged key points of the ongoing investigation to Geisecke during her interview and allowed investigators to interview Graley’s mother while she was accompanied by her boyfriend, Bill Fluty.
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