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Man indicted on child-murder charges again

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Philanders Lamont Bowie was indicted by a Clayton County grand jury a second time Wednesday, on charges he beat an infant girl to death.

The case against Bowie, a 27-year-old, former College Park man, was dismissed four months ago, when Clayton County prosecutors believed autopsy evidence cleared him of the crime.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's medical examiners disagreed with that interpretation of the autopsy, however, and the case was re-opened last week.

Bowie reportedly no longer lives in the area, and will have to be re-arrested.

Bowie was charged with killing his girlfriend's daughter, 19-month-old Makayla Denise Valley, who died of a ruptured liver on July 8, 2005.

According to post-mortem examinations, the baby girl was chronically abused. She had old and new bruises all over her body, cuts, abrasions and burns. Clayton County Police also suspected the girl's mother, Candace Jakes, at one point, but Bowie was watching Valley when she died and the mother has never been charged.

Bowie allegedly confessed to police. In police interview tapes, he is shown curled up in the corner of the room, crying, wailing, and confessing. He was interviewed by detectives for about 23 hours.

He sat in jail for two years, awaiting trial, but the case was dismissed when assistant district attorneys and the defense attorney, in separate conversations with a medical examiner, came to the interpretation that the fatal wound occurred 24 to 36 hours before the child died.

Medical examiners are now reportedly telling the prosecutors the fatal wound could have happened no more than 30 minutes before death. The liver rupture, which leaked fluid into Valley's stomach, allegedly corresponded to fresh bruises on her stomach.

Bowie's defense attorney, Joe Roberto, said there was not a "misunderstanding," when the district attorney's office dismissed the case. He believes an internal dispute at the GBI, a difficult-to-understand autopsy report, and political pressure are responsible for the re-indictment.

It was not clear, as the district attorney's office reopened the case and re-indicted the 27-year-old, if others would be prosecuted.