A former National Guard sergeant, who said he had post traumatic stress disorder, was sentenced Friday to life without parole for murdering an off-duty police officer at a Griffin Waffle House almost three years ago.
Superior Court Judge W. Fletcher Sams pronounced the punishment for Michael Bowman after the district attorney for Spalding County said he would not move forward with his plan to argue for a death sentence. On Thursday, a jury in LaGrange, where the trial was moved, had found Bowman guilty but mentally ill for murdering Griffin police officer Kevin Jordan, and it was to have begun hearing testimony in the sentencing phase of the trial Friday morning.
» IN-DEPTH: Former soldier uses PTSD defense
» MORE NEWS: Justin Ross Harris’ ex-wife speaks out
Bowman had tried to explain what happened when the one-time soldier testified a week earlier, recalling events from three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan that changed him.
Bowman testified on Feb. 10 that he didn’t remember shooting Jordan five times but he didn’t doubt that he did. Because of his PTSD, Bowman said, he reacted as if he were being attacked by the enemy when he saw Jordan escorting his belligerent girlfriend, Chantell Mixon, from the Waffle House after her profanity-laced demand that they be served immediately.
“I just remember him (Jordan) telling us to leave, but I don’t remember nothing else,” Bowman testified.
Bowman, now 32, said his only other memory of the events at the Waffle House on May 31, 2014, was the impact of the bullets fired by the police officer’s brother, Raymond Jordan, who happened to be there when Officer Jordan was killed.
Bowman, Mixon and his brother, Tyler Taylor, had been at a local bar, Mama’s Country Showcase, dancing and shooting pool before going to the Waffle House. Bowman said he was the only one in his group who did not drink that night.
They decided to leave the bar when an employee told Bowman that Taylor was passed out in the parking lot.
Bowman said that was when they decided to go for breakfast.
But the three were asked to leave the restaurant moments after they got there because Mixon was creating a disturbance.
Witnesses told police Mixon resisted and became even more belligerent as Officer Jordan, a 43-year-old father of seven, walked her out. Once in the parking lot, Bowman shot Jordan five times in the back.
Bowman testified he suffered from PTSD following missions in Iraq and Afghanistan clearing roads of explosives, shooting to disable any vehicles that tried to follow their convoys, driving supply trucks to outposts, and providing protection to a colonel.
He was injured in an explosion on a road.
Soon after his service was over, he started having nightmares, Bowman said. The dreams still come several times a week.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.