|Death: ||Jun. 8, 1977|
Gregory Bowman, freed from the St. Clair County Jail a week ago after two murder convictions were overturned, was charged Friday with capital murder in the strangulation of a 16-year-old Brentwood girl nearly 30 years ago.
Bowman, 55, was arrested Friday evening by U.S. marshals at his father's home in Bellmont, Ill., about 130 miles east of St. Louis.
The new charges stem from the 1977 murder of Velda Joy Rumfelt.
Bowman had never been a suspect in the Rumfelt death — until Tuesday. That's when DNA retrieved from the crime scene matched a DNA sample Bowman had submitted to authorities in 2001 in his attempt to clear his name in the two St. Clair County murders in 1978, a police source told the Post-Dispatch.
The Rumfelt case was being handled by a new cold-case unit of the St. Louis County Police Department. Police say hers is the oldest such case in St. Louis County where DNA evidence was available.
The girl's body was found June 6, 1977, in a field off of Allenton Road, near Manchester Road, in southwest St. Louis County. She was last seen near the intersection of Brentwood Boulevard and Clayton Road, and was on her way to her stepmother's home on Patton Avenue in Brentwood but never made it there.
Although strangulation was the cause of death, the girl's throat had been slashed.
Velda Rumfelt was a sophomore at Brentwood High and had been on the honor roll and was a member of a gymnastics team, the girls athletic association, the Spanish Club and the ninth-grade chorus.
Her brother Dewey Rumfelt said Friday night that family members had contacted detectives a few years ago seeking to have the case reopened as DNA evidence became well-known. Dewey Rumfelt's son took the lead in championing the case, though he'd never met his aunt.
"We knew if we were ever going to find out anything with a case that old, it was going to be through DNA," Dewey Rumfelt said.
He now lives north of Springfield, Mo., in Fair Play, Mo., with his wife, Teresa — one of his sister's close friends. Velda Rumfelt's parents and stepmother live in southwest Missouri, too.
Dewey Rumfelt said the family was glad that Velda Rumfelt will now be remembered and justice can be carried out.
"We all missed out on a lot with her gone," he said. "All I have to say is thank goodness for DNA."
Just eight days ago, Bowman was freed from jail in St. Clair County after posting a bond of $15,020. In April 2001, a St. Clair County judge threw out Bowman's convictions in the murders of Elizabeth West, 14, and Ruth Ann Jany, 21, and ordered new trials. Bowman had been awaiting those new trials when he was released. A condition of the bond was that he live with his father.
The convictions were thrown out because a sheriff's deputy admitted to Post-Dispatch reporters that he had tricked Bowman into talking about the murders to a career criminal inside the jail.
Late Friday, Bowman was being held at the Wabash County Jail in Mt. Carmel, Ill., awaiting his transfer to Clayton.
Bowman's father, Ed Bowman, said the marshals would not specify what crime he was being charged with when they came to arrest him other than that it was a 1977 murder in St. Louis County.
"Greg said he didn't know anything about it," Ed Bowman said.
UPDATE...December 11, 2009
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Posted: Friday, December 11, 2009 11:05 am
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - Gregory Bowman has been sentenced to death for killing a teenager in St. Louis County more than 30 years ago.
Circuit Judge David Lee Vincent III on Friday agreed with the jury's recommendation for the death penalty. Bowman's attorney says he will appeal.
Bowman had spent 28 years in prison for two killings in Illinois before his conviction was vacated.
Bowman, of Belmont, Ill., was sentenced in the 1977 killing of 16-year-old Velda Rumfelt in St. Louis County. The jury that convicted the 58-year-old Bowman in October recommended the death penalty.
Bowman was imprisoned 28 years for killing 14-year-old Elizabeth West and 21-year-old Ruth Ann Jany in separate cases in Belleville, Ill., in 1978.
The convictions were thrown out after a sheriff's deputy admitted to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Bowman had been tricked into confessing.
Dewey Milo Rumfelt (1922 - 2010)
Lois Ruth Cheek Rumfelt (1929 - 2011)
Lakewood Park Cemetery
St. Louis County
Created by: Edward L. Baugher III
Record added: Feb 05, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17819579
RIP Young Lady.. Peace be with your family forever and ever.|
Added: Jan. 19, 2017
Added: Mar. 18, 2016
Rest in Peace dear...|
Added: Mar. 18, 2016
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