While facing murder charge, probation violations may land suspect in prison

Staff Writer

A 27-year-old Clay County man who turned himself in Wednesday on murder charges after 24 days on the run likely will be arraigned in West Point Municipal Court today.

And Brian Bowens has given West Point police detectives a statement about what happened when 24-year-old Aaron Lamar Fenton was shot to death Aug. 19 at about 12:30 p.m. on Fifth Street North near Progress Street.

Detectives said Thursday they are "corroborating" his story which includes elements of self-defense. Shortly after the shooting and Bowens was named as a suspect, his mother, who lives in Florida, posted a long statement on Facebook saying why her son did what he did and why he wasn't turning himself in.

But investigators have wondered why he would have hidden for almost a month if he acted in self-defense.

While West Point Municipal Court Judge Bennie Jones may set a bond today, Bowens is not likely to get out of jail anytime soon because the Mississippi Department of Corrections has a hold on him for prior drug convictions.

Bowens, who at the time lived on Fifth Street near where the Fenton shooting later would occur, was charged in March 2014 with drug trafficking after he was caught with more than 40 doses of codeine, according to Clay County Circuit Court records.

On April 14, 2016, he was sentenced to four years after pleading guilty. He also was fined $1,200.

On March 17, 20017, he was released on parole.

In the meantime, other charges stacked up, according to court records.

On March 25, 2016 before he was sentenced in the codeine case, he was charged with simple assault on a police officer for hitting Officer Kyle Eaves in the face and neck.

As part of that incident, Bowens also was charged with possession of a pound of marijuana and possession of the drug DMBDB.

On July 26, 2017, he was sentenced to three years on the marijuana charge while the assault and other drug charge were retired.

He also was fined $1,000.

The new murder charge could prompt a judge to revoke his probation in both the drug cases.

Before his death, Fenton was on three years probation for third-degree arson. On Oct. 12, 2017, he pleaded guilty to setting fire to 2007 Chevrolet Impala owned by Danielle and Kay Jones on July 21, 2015.

After his death, his probation officer, Patrick Culley, told Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens that during his 10 months on probation, Fenton had abided by all the rules and his probation officially should be cleared.

Meanwhile, investigators also still are trying to confirm whether the Bowens-Fenton incident sparked a Sept. 6 shooting outside the West Point Deli on North Division at Bugg Street.

In that case, 19-year-old Natrell Cox, who was Fenton's best friend, is charged with aggravated assault for shooting 27-year-old Zerrick Crawford, who is Bowens' best friend, after the two coincidentally ran into each other at the business.