MIAMI COUNTY — On Friday, both the defense and the state prosecutors concluded their case against Frank Bowen, 26, of Tipp City, for the murder of Joseph Graley III, 31, of New Carlisle.
Graley III was found deceased by blunt force trauma to the head and face down in the backyard of his home on Scarff Road in Bethel Township on Oct. 23, 2014. A friend reported Graley missing on Oct. 22, 2014. Sheriff’s officials located Frank Bowen, 25, of Tipp City, at Graley’s home during Graley’s welfare check on Oct. 22, 2014 and arrested him on an unrelated warrant.
In previous court proceedings, Bowen pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, gross abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence stemming from his arrest on Oct. 22, 2014. During the August trial, a jury found Bowen guilty of safe-cracking, but was unable to return a verdict on the other related charges. Bowen awaits sentencing on the charge following the retrial.
Jurors were dismissed Friday afternoon following testimony from Lt. Steve Lord from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office and a close friend of the victim, Billie Ann Eason, who physically searched for her missing friend in the wooded areas around Joseph Graley’s home on October 22, 2014.
Lt. Lord, a law enforcement and homicide detective with more than 25 years experience, explained to the jury how the initial missing person report was filed in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2014. Lt. Lord shared how deputies searched in the dark recovering a bloody towel and pillow and called off the search to wait until daybreak. Lt. Lord explained how the investigation shifted from a general well-being search for Graley — dead or alive — to a homicide investigation after a deputy’s bloodhound discovered the body buried under debris and brush around 11 a.m. Oct. 23.
Lord shared how theories of a drug overdose and suicide were quickly dismissed “seeing as most people who commit suicide don’t usually cover themselves up with sticks.”
The defense argued that Lt. Lord failed to secure the property despite recovering and documenting suspicious articles of evidence such as the bloody towel and blood-soaked body pillow.
Eason also testified Friday morning. She said she attempted to look for any sign of Graley on the property including the tree line the day before authorities discovered the body. The defense stated Bowen never discouraged Eason from searching the property. Eason said the only time she saw Bowen get up off the living room couch was to look as she and her boyfriend were walking the property.
The defense also emphasized Bowen maintained his innocence throughout the process, only requesting legal council after three hours of questioning after he was incarcerated on an unrelated warrant.
Closing arguments and jury deliberations will begin on Tuesday morning.
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