Mother convicted of killing daughters, stuffing them in freezer

By Dan Morse
Monday, February 22, 2010; 3:36 PM

A Montgomery County jury convicted Renee Bowman of two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of child abuse on Monday for the beating of her three adopted girls. Two of the girls died and Bowman stuffed their bodies into a freezer.

Bowman, 44, showed no emotion as the verdict was read after about about two hours of deliberation.

Prosecutors said during the four-day trial that Bowman killed Minnet, who would be 12 now, and Jasmine, who would be 11, in Montgomery County in either 2006 or 2007, and took the freezer with her when she moved to Charles County and then Calvert County.

Both sides gave their closing arguments Monday morning.

State's Attorney John McCarthy said Bowman adopted the girls to receive the stipend from D.C. that comes with such custody.

"This woman was in it for the money. And by killing the children, keeping them literally on ice, the money continued to flow," he said.

Bowman's attorneys suggested that at least one of the two dead children died from natural causes and that Bowman didn't kill them.

Attorney Alan Drew acknowledged that Bowman abused her children, but he argued that prosecutors failed to prove she planned to kill them. If there's no premeditation, the jury could find her guilty of second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder.

The crime stunned the region and cast a spotlight on D.C.'s child welfare agency, which had allowed Bowman to adopt the three girls.

The most memorable part of the week-long trial is when the surviving child, who is now 9, described on the witness stand the harrowing life that Bowman forced upon the girls.

That girl is being raised by foster parents in Calvert County.

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