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Bowman Ruling Has Implications for Other Case in Marshall County

The state Supreme Court reinstated the conviction of a man charged with several child sex crimes, a move which Marshall County Prosecutor Joe Canestraro has implications beyond that particular trial.

On Tuesday, the state’s high court reaffirmed the conviction of Michael “Dan” Bowman, who was initially convicted in 2017 of sexual abuse by a custodian, sexual assault, and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Bowman’s conviction had been overturned in April, with Judge David Hummel concluding that the grand jury had been improperly instructed. Canestraro said that any errors then-prosecutor Rhonda Wade had made had been accidental.

In its ruling the state Supreme Court said case law showed that, except for “for willful, intentional fraud the law of this State does not permit the court to go behind an indictment to inquire into the evidence considered by the grand jury, either to determine its legality or its sufficiency.”

The Supreme Court also pointed out that Bowman had not raised any of those concerns before his trial began, and that the court has “long held” that once a trial is had, an error in grand jury proceedings is cured.

On Wednesday, Canestraro said the ruling would also address another case, that of Arthur Dale Crow, who was convicted in 2016 of nine counts of sexual abuse by a custodian and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Crow, 38, was sentenced by Hummel to 31 to 95 years in prison.

“There’s currently one other case that has a habeas corpus proceeding pending that brought up the same issue, so this ruling will affect that habeas,” Canestraro said. “… It’ll wrap up that issue, on the habeas. He’s alleged other things that we still have to work through, but as far as the issue of the grand jury brought up in that case, this opinion will take care of that.”

Bowman was taken into custody Tuesday night by Marshall County deputies, with assistance from Moundsville police, West Virginia state troopers, and Glen Dale police. He has been returned to prison to continue serving his sentence of up to 70 years.

Canestraro expressed his gratitude to the prosecutor’s office staff for researching the matter after Hummel’s April decision came down, and Wade, who remains an assistant prosecutor, and Andrea Poling for prosecuting the case at trial. He also thanked Bryan Gaus, a former state trooper, for investigating the case.

“My office will continue to endeavor to be professional, fair, and to seek justice for the residents of Marshall County,” Canestraro said.

Bowman’s most recent attorney, Mark Panepinto, was unable to be reached for comment Wednesday.

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