Bexley News

Conviction in Molly Davis case

Man faces April 1 sentencing for accident


A Columbus man was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide Jan. 3 in the death of a Bexley elementary-school teacher.

A Franklin County judge issued the verdict after rejecting an insanity defense by Eric L. Bowles, 36, of East Oakland Avenue.

Bowles admitted he caused the death of Molly Davis, 61, by driving recklessly through a red light and into her car at a Clintonville intersection on March 15, 2011, but said he didn't understand that his actions were wrong at the time due to mental illness.

Davis, the Ohio Teacher of the Year in 1984, taught fifth grade at Cassingham Elementary School. She was scheduled to retire at the end of the 2010-2011 school year after 40 years in the classroom.

Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook heard testimony last month from a psychologist and psychiatrist who agreed that Bowles suffers from severe mental illness but disagreed about his awareness of what he was doing at the time of the incident.

The defense had the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Bowles' mental illness at the time of the crash prevented him from understanding the wrongfulness of his conduct.

Bowles could be sent to prison for up to three years when he is sentenced on April 1 by Holbrook, but he is eligible for probation. He also faces a driver's license suspension of three years to life.