Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Killer of St. Louis County Teen, Once Also Convicted in 2 Belleville Murders, Dies in Prison

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Killer of St. Louis County Teen, Once Also Convicted in 2 Belleville Murders, Dies in Prison

Article excerpt

Gregory Bowman, released from prison in the murders of two young women in Belleville only to be convicted later of one in St. Louis County, died Tuesday in a Missouri prison.

Bowman, 64, had been ill for some time, which postponed a resentencing that could have reinstated a death sentence in the killing of Velda Joy Rumfelt in 1977. Bowman died of "apparent natural causes" at 10:10 a.m. at the Potosi Correctional Center in Potosi, officials said.

After being arrested in a failed kidnapping in Belleville in 1978, Bowman was convicted of two separate kidnap-murders earlier that year in that city. Elizabeth West, 14, disappeared while walking home from a school play, and Ruth Ann Jany, 21, disappeared from a downtown ATM. The body of West showed she had been strangled and presumably raped. Little could be gleaned from Jany's skeletal remains.

Bowman had served time in prison already on a 1972 conviction for kidnapping a girl in eastern Illinois. He was convicted in an uncontested bench trial of killing West and Jany on the strength of his confession to a fellow jail inmate.

Twenty years later, a Post-Dispatch investigation showed that a detective had gotten the inmate to trick Bowman into confessing. An appellate court reversed the convictions, not because of the trick but because the defense had not been told of it. …

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