- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

RICHMOND — A grand jury has indicted a Richmond man on capital-murder charges in a shooting spree that left three dead — including two shopkeepers who were gunned down in front of horrified customers.

Daniel A. Bowler, 26, was scheduled for arraignment yesterday in Circuit Court before Judge Margaret Spencer, Commonwealth’s Attorney David Hicks said.

Mr. Hicks said his office will pursue the death penalty, but neither he nor Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe revealed any other information about the case, including a motive.

“This case is a very heinous case, and if I did not think it was a case that was death-eligible, I would not make it death-eligible,” Mr. Hicks said outside court.

Mr. Bowler was the subject of a manhunt among local, state and federal officers for more than 24 hours after Wednesday’s killings. Two of the men killed were shopkeepers shot in the head by a man yelling racist comments as customers looked on.

The other victim was killed in a public housing complex in South Richmond.

Police initially said they were investigating the slayings at the businesses as hate crimes. But Chief Monroe later said police think Mr. Bowler knew the victims and that the killings were some form of retaliation.

Mr. Bowler was identified from surveillance photographs from a convenience store where one of the victims was shot, police said.

Mr. Bowler was arrested Thursday at a hotel near Richmond International Airport. Police recovered a weapon and additional ammunition in Mr. Bowler’s room, Chief Monroe said.

Mr. Bowler has refused to cooperate with authorities, Chief Monroe said Monday.

Mr. Hicks said the grand jury arrived at the capital-murder charges based on three legal theories: murder during a robbery, committing two murders within three years and killing two or more persons within the same act or transaction.

Authorities said they received a call Wednesday night that a gunman had shot someone at the housing complex. Police found Derrick Conner, 29, lying dead on the street.

Minutes later, police said, the gunman entered a convenience store about three miles from the housing complex and shot employee Abdulrahman Aldhabhani, 43, before going next door to a dry cleaner’s and shooting Jong Doh, 39.

Although Virginia ranks second in the nation in the number of executions, Richmond juries traditionally have shied away from imparting the death penalty.

The ultimate punishment has been handed out only four times in the past 16 years in the city, Mr. Hicks said.

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