Written by Devon Boen
Charles Bowen, the Florida man accused of causing the death of his friend, Brian Doyle, in January 2012, appeared in Montana’s 15th Judicial District Court on Wednesday, April 24, and entered a not-guilty plea to an amended charge of negligent homicide - failure to act.
Bowen has been incarcerated for about 15 months in the Roosevelt County Jail. He was arrested in Williston, N.D., and was extradited to Roosevelt County in February 2012.
Court documents said Bowen and Doyle had travelled to the area to find work in the oil field. Bowen told authorities Doyle had become belligerent and violent while the two were driving near Culbertson.
He said he ordered Doyle out of the vehicle and that Doyle exited while the vehicle was still moving. Bowen said he saw Doyle in the rearview mirror on his hands and knees, but that Doyle had told him to leave.
Bowen said he decided to turn around after driving a short distance, but that Doyle was no longer visible.
Doyle’s body wasn’t discovered until Jan. 20, nine days after he had last been seen with Bowen. Investigators noted that Doyle was not wearing appropriate clothes for the cold weather. They also found his shoes nearby and tire marks across his chest.
The report said law enforcement suspected he had been ran over and an autopsy in Billings confirmed he had injuries consistent with that hypothesis.
The autopsy showed Doyle died from both the injuries sustained from being run over and from being out in the cold too long.
Bowen’s original charge was negligent homicide which he pleaded not guilty to in February 2012. The state amended his charge to negligent homicide – failure to act. That means he isn’t necessarily accused of directly causing Doyle’s death, but rather accused of not providing aid to him — a decision that allegedly indirectly caused Doyle’s death.
During the initial investigation, Bowen denied he hit Doyle with the car. Bowen’s defense alleges there is no physical evidence suggesting it was Bowen’s vehicle that struck Doyle.
Bowen is set for a trial in June and a jury of his peers will determine his responsibility regarding Doyle’s death.