BELFAST — Glenn Brown was sentenced to life in prison March 4 for shooting to death his sister Tina Bowden and her husband, Richard Bowden, in their home Oct. 5, 2020. Close family members and friends of the Bowdens testified in court against Brown, asking for the maximum sentence to be imposed, while Brown’s close relatives asked for leniency.

Both family members and friends testifying for and against Brown highlighted the family turbulence that arose when Brown and his siblings’ stepfather started having health issues. The siblings fought over his care and estate. Brown and his brothers were bitter toward Tina Bowden after she was named their father’s trustee.

The Bowdens’ close family and friends testified to their character and faith. A childhood friend of Tina Bowden’s spoke about how the couple sought healing and redemption through the church. He spoke about how far back tensions in the family went. “There was a dark and personal family history, which I and many others close to Tina and Cheryl (another Brown sibling) had been aware of for many years that pitted sisters against brothers,” he said. “The brothers went to great lengths to conceal that dark past by discrediting their sisters at every opportunity, which they continue to do to this day.”

Richard Bowden’s sister said the last thing she ever thought she would have to do was write the statement she read at the hearing. She said her brother had a thoughtful, gentle, fun-loving spirit. She cries every day over the loss of him and has developed extreme anxiety for which she needs medication, she said.

“It’s like a long, slow torture because every day when I wake up, the loss is the first thing on my mind, the realization that they truly are gone, as well as our future plans of traveling in our camper together, taking Dicky striper fishing and sharing meals, cider grinds, celebrations and holidays,” she said. “Our retirement years now hold an emptiness I am unable to fill.”

Brown’s sister-in-law testified on his behalf at the hearing and outlined the family turbulence that preceded the murders. According to her, Tina Bowden’s actions in controlling her father’s estate and limiting her brothers’ access to their father caused the family to feud. She said Brown and his wife and children are being “treated like monsters.”

During the hearing Brown said he does not remember a lot about the day he killed his sister and brother-in-law, but that he did not go to their house intending to kill them. He said he pleaded no contest to save the family any more “animosity.”

Tina Bowden’s daughter testified that she still lives in fear of some of her family members and had to move away because she is afraid they might hurt her or her family. She said her children have lost the two best examples of empathy, forgiveness and faith they had. “I strive to pass those traits on to them and I pray for grace and facing the truth. I will fight to break the cycle of this family dysfunctions and pass on something much better to generations to come,” she said.

Judge Robert Murray ultimately decided there was enough evidence for Brown’s crime to rise to level of a life sentence and the mitigating factors in his favor did not outweigh the harm done to the Bowdens’ family and friends. He imposed the maximum sentence of life in prison and more than $17,000 in restitution.

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