Originally created 10/30/00

Slaying suspect arrested



Steven Wayne Bowman returned from the Georgia-Florida game Sunday to find Richmond County deputies waiting to arrest him in connection with the slaying of an Edgefield County man.

Mr. Bowman, 42, of the 1900 block of McDowell Street, Augusta, is charged with murder in the death of Philip Holmes, 37. Mr. Holmes was shot twice in the chest and his body was set on fire in front of his mobile home Thursday, Edgefield County Sheriff Billy Parker said.

Officials would not disclose a possible motive in the slaying, but according to Mr. Bowman's roommate, Ted Dicks, the two men knew each other. Mr. Dicks did not elaborate on the connection.

"It shocks me something fierce," said Mr. Dicks, who has lived with Mr. Bowman for three years."Nobody believes he could do something like this. He's never been in trouble with the law before."

Mr. Bowman was arrested at his home at about noon Sunday. Mr. Bowman, a University of Georgia football fan, had just returned from Jacksonville, his roommate said.

Daniel Choate, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division officer, took Mr. Bowman in custody and held him at gunpoint until a Richmond County deputy arrived to take the man to the jail.

Neighbors said authorities had been at Mr. Bowman's white one-story bungalow many times during the weekend. His arrest came as a "bizarre shock" to residents who described him as a nice, hard-working man who enjoyed yardwork.

Mr. Bowman works three jobs, including one at AT&T, where he is a supervisor, Mr. Dicks said. He added that Mr. Bowman graduated from Butler High School and Augusta State University.

Mr. Bowman is being held in the Richmond County Detention Center, where he awaits extradition to Edgefield County, Sheriff Parker said.

Mr. Holmes was buried at the Holmes' family cemetery Sunday, shortly after Mr. Bowman was arrested. The father of three was well-known in the Red Hill community and worked with his father, Floyd, at Superior Dry Wall in North Augusta.

Born in Joliet, Ill., he was a member of Red Hill Baptist Church. Mr. Holmes also was a Scottish Rite Mason.

Mr. Holmes' mother, Jean, found her son's body Thursday morning lying by his front porch on Cold Springs Road, about 12 miles outside Edgefield.

She stopped by her son's home after she noticed his truck was still there when he was supposed to have been at work.

Authorities say Mr. Holmes was killed on his porch, probably about 1 a.m., then dragged in the yard before his body was burned.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (706) 823-3218 or Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.