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Bowie pleads 'not guilty' again

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Philanders Lamont Bowie pleaded "not guilty" Wednesday to the fatal, brutal beating of a baby girl.

He is accused of killing his girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter, Makayla Denise Valley, in July 2005. The girl died of a ruptured liver while he was baby-sitting, according to court documents.

Bowie was previously charged with the murder, but the case was dropped when an autopsy report seemed to clear him of the crime. Prosecutors, dismissing the case after Bowie spent two years in jail, referred to him as the "least likely suspect" in the death of a child who was "chronically abused."

The Louisiana man was re-indicted and re-arrested after some public protest, and after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials said the Clayton County prosecutors shouldn't have dismissed the case.

Steve Frey, representing Bowie, said he's currently researching the convoluted history of the case. "There's some confusion," Frey said, "as to whether or not the GBI is claiming the DA's office misread the [autopsy] report, or whether there's a second opinion about the timeline for the injury."

Originally, the attorneys prosecuting Bowie believed the autopsy indicated the fatal injury occurred 24 to 36 hours before the baby's death. That timeline made Bowie present at the death, but not necessarily connected to the deadly injury.

Currently, the prosecutors are saying that was a misunderstanding, and the injury occurred less than 30 minutes before death, a time frame meaning Bowie is the only possible suspect.

Police believed Bowie was the most likely suspect when they found the girl dead -- wearing only a bloody diaper and a broken, yellow earring. Then, Bowie allegedly confessed. During more than 20 hours of interviews with police, Bowie broke down crying, and allegedly said he violently threw the girl into a child's seat.

Bowie's previous attorney, Joe Roberto, said the police department's conclusion in arresting Bowie made sense, but the autopsy results revealed a different story. Roberto originally asked for his own medical expert to explain the autopsy, but canceled the request when a medical examiner at the GBI told him the autopsy cleared his client, Roberto told the Clayton News Daily.

Frey said he's looking into the theory of the second opinion. "If there was a second opinion, we'll need to find out who rendered it and what it is," he said.

He is filing an application this week with the court for an outside medical expert for the defense.