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Gary Ray Bowles
Born January 25, 1962(1962-01-25)
Clifton Forge, Virginia
Charge(s) 3 counts of murder
Penalty Death
Status on death row

Gary Ray Bowles (January 25, 1962) is an American serial killer who was sentenced to death for the murder of six men.


Early life

Bowles was born in Clifton Forge, Virginia. His father, William Franklin Bowles, had died six months before, and his mother, Frances, remarried several times. Bowles was abused by his second stepfather, a violent alcoholic who also abused Bowles' mother and older brother. The abuse continued until, at the age of 13, Bowles fought back and severely injured his stepfather. He left home soon after, angered by his mother's decision to remain in the marriage.[1] He was homeless for the next few years, earning money as a prostitute.[1]

In 1982, he was arrested for beating and sexually assaulting his girlfriend, and was sentenced to six years in prison. In 1991, after his release from prison, he was convicted of unarmed robbery in the theft of an elderly woman's purse, a crime for which he was sentenced to four more years in prison; he was released in two.[2]


On April 14, 1994, in Daytona, Florida, Bowles killed his first known victim, John Hardy Roberts, who had offered him a temporary place to live. Following an argument, Bowles beat and strangled him to death, and then stole his credit card. Police soon considered him a suspect after finding his fingerprints and probation records at the crime scene.[3] Over the next six months, Bowles murdered five other men in Nassau County, Florida, Savannah, Georgia, and Montgomery County, Maryland. His typical modus operandi was to prostitute himself to his victims before beating and strangling them, and stealing their credit cards.[2] While on the run, Bowles was put on the FBI's list of the country's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives for his four known victims.[4] Finally, on October 22, 1994, Bowles was arrested for the murder of Walter Jamelle "Jay" Hinton, and confessed to all six murders.[5]


Bowles was found guilty of three counts of murder and sentenced to death, but the sentence was reversed by the Florida Supreme Court; he was given a new sentencing hearing, and again received the death penalty.[6].

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