Bowker behind bars for drunken June crime spree

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008

By By NORMA LERNER / Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – A Dowagiac man who broke into his neighbor's garage, stole her deceased husband's truck, drove it while he was drunk, hit a tree and went through the windshield, will spend the Christmas holidays behind prison bars.
Timothy Bowker, 41, of 61078 M-51, got five to 20 years for the crime spree he committed June 10 while on parole from a prior conviction.
The neighbor was a woman who helped him out time and again and had known him ever since he was 3 years old.
The neighbor, Carol Goodman, who lives on Thomson Road, Niles, told Judge Michael Dodge Friday morning in Cass County Circuit Court that Bowker is a good man when he is off drugs and alcohol.
She said he is reliable and has a 12-year-old son.
"I am trying to keep him on the right path. I am trying to teach him things. What he did wasn't him. It was the drugs and alcohol. He is a good worker. I could trust him with my life."
She said this summer she could have "killed him," but it was against the law. She said his mom and dad live next door.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Frank Machnik asked the court to follow the recommendation of the probation department, saying he was beyond any possible rehabilitation.
He stole her truck and drove it in a drunken stupor.
"For the protection of society, the best place for him is in prison."
Bowker had two defense attorneys, James Miller and Lawrence Quigley. Miller said Goodman knows him better than anyone else.
Miller said Bowker has a child to take care of and a lot of issues to deal with in asking for a term below the guideline range, which was 25 to 85 months.
Quigley said he knows he has a problem and needs to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Bowker began crying and said he was on cocaine and other stuff and admitted he is a "broken man."
He said he tried repeatedly to kick the habit through different treatment programs. He said ever since his son was born he began doing drugs and drinking. His son is now 12.
He referred to Goodman as a "truly good woman." He said he prayed to God and has done Bible studies.
"I can't find the answer, but I saw God," he said asking for 14 months.
Dodge said when Bowker broke into Goodman's garage he also stole tools. "You took advantage of her," he said. Bowker used to do yard work for Goodman, he said. He committed the crime while on parole from a retail fraud conviction in Berrien County. "You deserve a prison sentence."
He received a concurrent three years for receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle, habitual third. For third-offense operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Bowker got 2-to-7-1/2 years. The sentences are consecutive to his paroled conviction. His fines and costs totaled $180 plus restitution of $9,684.
Also going to prison was Randall Richardson, 37, of 305 Wooden Street, Dowagiac, who got concurrent 4- to-20 years for two counts of maintaining a methamphetamine laboratory, one near a specified place.
Dodge recounted that it was Aug. 9 when the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team executed a search warrant and found a gas generator used to manufacture methamphetamine outside Richardson's home. Also found were most of the precursors used in making meth including crushed Sudafed and a tutor used for smoking the substance. Richardson's record shows a prior prison term for dealing with meth and possession in Indiana.
Dodge found no reason to deviate from Richardson's guideline range of 3-to-5 years, and he imposed one more year than the low end. His fines and costs were $685.
In other sentencings Friday:
* Autumn Weldon, 30, 225 Fremont Street, Bronson, Mich., received two years of probation plus the first 90 days to be spent in jail for attempted larceny in a building Oct.7, 2007, at the home of her foster mother Ella Henney in Vandalia. Henney cared for her since she was 15 years old. She took numerous items and medications belonging to her two children, one who is handicapped. Weldon said she was sorry. She is to pay a $240 probation fee, $3,949 restitution and costs of $920.
* Kyle Shay, 21, 25362 Michigan-60, Cassopolis, 120 days jail for possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle Oct. 29 on Union Road, Cassopolis. He may be released from jail after serving 90 days if he pays assessments of $820.
* James Ott, 67, 55184 Twin Lakes Road, Dowagiac, received two years probation plus 60 days jail for driving through a school yard while drunk on Sept. 11. Ottt crossed the center line on East State Street, went through a fence and into the school yard at Sam Adams School. It was 2 p.m. when children could have been present, Machnik said. His blood alcohol level was 0.22 percent, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. He is to pay $1,945 in costs and attend the Victim Impact Panel.
* Darius Nickens, 26, of 111 Pokagon Street, Dowagiac, received one year jail for fleeing a police officer and credit for time served of 57 days for possession of marijuana Oct. 17 in Dowagiac. He is to pay $180 costs.
* Terrell Blackamore, 40, of 226 South Paul Street, Dowagiac, received 270 days jail each for possession of a contraband and habitual-second possession of cocaine less than 25 grams on Oct. 21 on West High Street, Dowagiac. He has three prior convictions. His term is concurrent and consecutive to prior sentences. Dodge told Blackamore he has a lot of talent going to waste as he has been employed.
* Kurtis Hawkins, 41, of 53834 Gards Prairie Road, Decatur, received 90 days jail and two years probation for third-offense operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Dowagiac on Oct. 21. His blood alcohol level was 0.09 percent. He is pay $1,660 costs and attend the Victim Impact Panel.
* Donnetta Jordan, 38, of 410 Maple Street, Dowagiac, got 30 concurrent days jail for each of Maintaining a drug house, possession of marijuana and attempted possession of cocaine less than 25 grams on Feb. 13 on Maple Street, Dowagiac. She also was put on 18 months of probation and received $916 costs.[ok]