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Facing previously-dismissed charges, man turns self in

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Philanders Lamont Bowie, the 27-year-old re-indicted in a fatal baby beating case, has turned himself in to U.S. Marshals.

"He was wavering, but eventually, he did the right thing," said Marshal Katrina Crouse. "He was concerned his family would get in trouble."

Bowie was reportedly living in Houston, Texas, after the Clayton County District Attorney's Office dismissed the case against him in February.

Marshals said they found Bowie by putting pressure on his mother, Felicia Tomas, a month after the prosecution was re-opened. She lives in Louisiana.

Last week, Tomas told the Clayton News Daily she knew officials were looking for her son, but hoped to hold off any arrest until the family could get a good lawyer. Last time he was arrested, Bowie couldn't make bail and sat in jail for more than two years before the case was dismissed.

The charges were reinstated after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the county's prosecutors had misread, or misunderstood, the autopsy report, when they dismissed the case.

There was, apparently, a dispute about the autopsy's findings, with some interpreting the report to read that Bowie had to have killed the girl, because of the time of the fatal injury and the time of death, and others interpreting the report so the man was the "least likely suspect."

Makayla Denise Valley died in July 2005, while Bowie was her baby-sitter. He was her mother's boyfriend at the time. The 19-month-old girl, who died of a ruptured liver, was reportedly chronically abused, and was found by police, wearing a bloody diaper and a broken yellow earring.

Bowie confessed to beating the girl, during 23 hours of interviews with police. Bowie's mother, and his former attorney, Joe Roberto, said he didn't do any thing wrong except try to help a single mother, and felt guilty about the girl's death.

Valley's mother, Candace Jakes, has publicly pled with prosecutors to punish her former boyfriend.

The district attorney's office has said the dismissal was a mistake, and prosecutors are now following the evidence in the case.

Marshall James Ergas said the mother was contacted on Monday night for the second time since the second indictment was passed down in June, and was told she could go to jail for aiding her son's flight from the law.

"When she was confronted with that," Ergas said, "she put us in touch with him and he agreed to turn himself in."

Marshals said Bowie told them he was driving back from Houston, and put them off for a few hours, citing last-minute errands, but finally surrendered on Tuesday.

He is currently being held in Louisiana, but is being extradited back to Clayton County.