Cleveland man kills drug dealer in self-defense

From STAFF REPORTS
Posted 9/5/18

A Cleveland man arrested for killing his reported drug dealer said during a preliminary hearing in Chattanooga that he acted in self-defense.The claim was made during a hearing Tuesday in the …

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Cleveland man kills drug dealer in self-defense

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A Cleveland man arrested for killing his reported drug dealer said during a preliminary hearing in Chattanooga that he acted in self-defense.

The claim was made during a hearing Tuesday in the Hamilton County General Sessions Court.

The man, Tracy Bowman, 46, is charged with killing Robert Kelley, 69, with a .22-caliber revolver because he claims he thought Kelley was going to kill him.

Police said Bowman had gone to Kelley's house to obtain several prescription pills "on credit," despite already owing Kelley several hundred dollars. Kelley, according to Bowman, pointed a gun at his head. Bowman said he then shot Kelley several times as Kelley ran down the hallway of his home.

Police say Bowman tried to cover up the incident by rearranging the contents of Kelley’s home to make it look as if a robbery had occurred. Kelley had been shot seven times, police said. 

Police said Bowman disposed of the weapon while on his way back to Cleveland.

His body was not discovered until Aug. 12, two days after the incident.

While there was no surveillance footage connecting Bowman to the crime, the listing of a “T. Bowman” in a drug transaction register owned by Kelley led investigators to Bowman.

Testimony from Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Detective Robert Rush, the only state witness, convinced Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Christie Sell to send Bowman's criminal homicide and robbery charges to a grand jury, reports said.

Bowman could face a second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter charge if a grand jury chooses to indict him and the case proceeds to Criminal Court, reports said,

Bowman remains in custody on a $1 million bond.


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