Family Crimes

Man Charged For Killing His Father Told Friend He Needed A 'Human Sacrifice' For Jesus, Lawyer Says

Michael Bowles' lawyer said the "defendant’s sanity will be a significant factor in his defense."

A Virginia man facing trial for allegedly shooting his father and leaving his body in a burning house told a friend just days earlier that he “needed a human sacrifice” for Jesus, his lawyer said.

Michael Bowles, of Leesburg, was arrested in August 2017 after his father was found shot to death in the family’s scorched home.

Bowles’ attorney, Ryan Campbell, filed a motion Friday in Loudoun County Court saying “the defendant’s sanity will be a significant factor in his defense,” according to WTOP in Washington D.C. The motion was filed to evaluate Bowles’ mental health at the time of the crime.

Campbell wrote that Bowles communicated with a high school friend two days before the killing and “said he needed a human sacrifice to bring about the resurrection of Christ,” a statement that raised alarms about his mental health.

On the day of the fire, Bowles and his father, Mario, were supposed to meet Michael’s mother, Evelyn, at Michael’s psychiatrist’s office.

“Evelyn Bowles would leave the psychiatrist’s office and return home to find her home in flames and her husband and child missing,” Campbell wrote in the motion.

Firefighters responded to reports of smoke coming from the Bowles’ home. After extinguishing the fire, they found the father’s body in the rubble the next day. Using forensic evidence, the prosecution said Bowles had used gasoline as an accelerant to start the fire.

Prosecutors also believe Bowles bought the 12-gauge shotgun he used to shoot his father after a classmate, James Nowland, posted it for sale on Facebook, WTOP reported in March. Nowland testified in a pretrial hearing, admitting to selling Bowles the gun in a Walmart parking lot. 

Prosecutors were confident that the DNA discovered on the gun was a match for Bowles.

The defense's motion comes months after Bowles' psychiatrist that Bowles was a high-functioning schizophrenic, but sometime avoided taking his medication.

According to court records, Bowles was charged with first-degree murder, the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, arson, shooting or stabbing in the commission of a felony, use of a sawed off shotgun in a crime, maliciously shooting or throwing missiles and concealing a deadly body. His next hearing is on September 28.   

[Photo: Loudoun County Sheriff's Office]

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