Originally created 10/31/00

SLED searches suspect's car



State agents have confiscated a vehicle driven by slaying suspect Steven Wayne Bowman in hopes of finding forensic evidence to bolster their case, Edgefield County Sheriff Billy Parker said Monday.

Mr. Bowman, 42, of Augusta, is charged with murder in connection with the shooting of Edgefield County resident Philip Holmes, 37, whose body was burned after he died from two gunshot wounds to the chest.

Agents with the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division used a warrant Sunday to search Mr. Bowman's home on McDowell Street in Augusta and take his station wagon.

"They are just checking to see if there's any gas, anything they can find out of it," Sheriff Parker said.

Detectives are not discussing what connection the two men might have had, but Mr. Bowman's roommate David Key said the victim was dating Mr. Bowman's ex-girlfriend.

Another roommate, Ted Dicks, said Mr. Bowman recently broke up with his girlfriend because there was "too much fussing between the two." The former girlfriend was a fan of Tennessee, and Mr. Bowman was a Georgia fanatic, which led to frequent arguments, Mr. Dicks said.

"She laughs when Georgia gets beat; he laughs when Tennessee got beat," he said. "But they've separated maybe two or three months ago."

Mr. Bowman was arrested Sunday after returning home from the Georgia-Florida game. While he was still at the house, Mr. Dicks asked him whether he killed the Edgefield County man.

"I looked him straight in the eye, and I said, `Steve, you couldn't have done this,' and he said, `I did not do this, Ted,"' Mr. Dicks said.

Mr. Bowman remained in the Richmond County Detention Center on Monday night, awaiting extradition to South Carolina. Sheriff Parker said he should find out today how the extradition is proceeding.

"I hope to know by (then) what we're going to have to do to get a governor's warrant to extradite him, or whether he's going to sign the waiver and come on back" to Edgefield County, the sheriff said.

Mr. Holmes' body was found Thursday by his mother, Jean Holmes, at 7:30 a.m. He was lying on the front porch of his mobile home on Cold Springs Road, 12 miles outside Edgefield.

Authorities say Mr. Holmes, 37, was killed on his porch, probably at about 1 a.m., then dragged in the yard before his body was burned.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (803) 279-6895.