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William Bowie

North Carolina Death Row Inmate

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William Bowie

William Bowie

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On May 23, 1991, at around 11:00 p.m., William Barfield Bowie and Rochelle Bowie approached Nelson Shuford and Calvin Wilson in the street. An argument ensued between Rochelle and Shuford. Seeing acquaintances of Shuford's gathering, William and Rochelle walked away from the argument. They then heard shots fired from behind them. Rochelle believed that Shuford and Wilson were shooting at her, but in fact Wilson was shooting into the air.

William and Rochelle returned to Rochelle's home, where William attempted to contact his nephew, Nathan Bowie. Reaching Bowie's mother by telephone, William left a message for Bowie, explaining what had transpired and asking Bowie to meet him at Rochelle's residence as soon as possible. Shortly thereafter, Bowie, then 24 old, arrived, carrying a .45 firearm.

Early the next morning, Bowie and William left Rochelle's house.

Around 8:00 a.m., Bowie was seen pounding on the front door of Shuford's home, calling for Shuford to come out, claiming to be "Neal" from Charlotte. Finding Shuford not at home, Bowie left, angry and cursing, and sped away in his truck. Three witnesses, including two who knew Bowie from high school, identified Bowie as the man banging on Shuford's door.

Approximately two hours later, Shuford and Wilson were outside standing and socializing with four friends. According to multiple eyewitnesses, Bowie and William appeared from behind a building and approached the group and began firing, killing Shuford and Wilson.

Later forensics revealed that Shuford had been shot once in the chest by a large-caliber bullet, dying instantly. Wilson was shot in the chest with a small-caliber bullet and in the head with a large-caliber bullet. One of the gunshot wounds was delivered after Wilson was already on the ground suffering from the other. Wilson died several days later from the head wound. Neither victim was armed at the time of the shootings, though Wilson's gun was some distance away in the trunk of his car.

Immediately after the killings, Bowie and William fled to Philadelphia, where they were soon apprehended and charged with the murders.

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