'Least likely suspect' held
without bond

By Daniel Silliman


Philanders Bowie, the man once called the "least likely suspect" in a little girl's murder, is being held in Clayton County Jail without bond -- again.

The 27-year-old Louisiana man is accused of brutally beating a baby to death, but the charges against him were dropped in February, after he'd sat in jail for two years, awaiting trial.

The charges were brought back in June, after becoming an election issue in the district attorney's race. Bowie, who had left the state and returned to nursing school, turned himself in to United States Marshals, after being re-indicted on the murder charges.

He previously had a bond of about $20,000, but couldn't raise the money to pay it and waited for the justice system to go through the process and get his case to trial. Bowie's attorney, Steve Frey, tried to get Bowie bond on the re-indicted charges, in a motion filed earlier this month. "Defendant asks that this court do the just thing," Frey wrote, "and grant him bond."

Superior Court Judge Albert Collier denied the motion, pointing out that the 27-year-old could be a flight risk, because all his connections are outside of Georgia.

Bowie allegedly confessed to killing 19-month-old Makayla Denise Valley in 2005, slamming her around until her liver ruptured and she died, bleeding into her diaper. He was charged with causing "cruel and excessive" pain, and killing the girl.

An autopsy report cleared Bowie, though, according to the assistant district attorney who was handling the case. The autopsy report, according to prosecuting and defense attorneys, said the fatal injury occurred prior to Bowie's five hours of baby-sitting, at a time when the little girl's mother and uncle would have been watching her.

Bowie was officially called the "least likely suspect," and District Attorney Jewel Scott, referring to evidence that the child was chronically abused before she died, said "everyone in that house should have been charged."

The girl's mother, Candace Jakes, publicly supported attorney Herbert Adams in his attempt to unseat Scott. Jakes reportedly told Bowie's relatives he was going to get the death penalty, and she also went to local television news stations, saying her child's death was being ignored by the district attorney's office, despite a recorded confession.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's medical examiner's office said the case never should have been dismissed.

According to John Bankhead, GBI spokesman, the three attorney's working with the case misunderstood the autopsy. Where they read the fatal injury occurred 24 to 36 hours before the little girl's death, the medical examiners actually meant the time between injury and death was no longer than 30 minutes, Bankhead said.

It is not clear, at this time, if the same medical examiner wrote the report and disputed the attorneys' interpretation, of if there's a dispute within the GBI about the autopsy.

If the case goes to trial, this time, the defense attorney is likely to call the prosecutor who dismissed the case to testify as to why, and he is likely to call medical examiners to dispute the GBI's official interpretation of the autopsy.

Bowie is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Aug. 26.