CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State Supreme Court justices upheld the murder conviction of a Raleigh County man despite acknowledging several errors made during his trial, which led one justice to describe the case as "terrible."
In a 3-2 ruling filed Tuesday, justices upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Christopher Wayne Bowling, 41, of Daniels.
Bowling was sentenced in Raleigh County Circuit Court in November 2011 to life without mercy in the fatal shooting of his wife, Tresa.
Bowling's attorneys appealed that conviction, arguing that he did not receive a fair trial because several witnesses were allowed to testify about Bowling's history of violence.
The court accepted the testimony as evidence of Bowling's guilt, which should have been inadmissible, according to the Supreme Court opinion. A firearms expert then gave conflicting testimony about whether a gun could accidentally discharge.
The Raleigh Circuit Court also failed to make private pretrial hearings regarding those witnesses' testimony, which is required by law when it comes to "bad character evidence," according to the opinion.
Despite these errors, justices upheld the conviction and said the errors were not significant enough to overturn Bowling's conviction.
Justices Brent Benjamin, Robin Jean Davis and Allen Loughry upheld the conviction while Margaret Workman and Menis Ketchum dissented.