Loudoun Co. man indicted on murder charge in father’s death, arson

LEESBURG, Va. — A 20-year-old Loudoun County man has been indicted on seven counts, including first-degree murder, after prosecutors say he fatally shot his father over the summer and then set fire to the family home to conceal the crime.

In addition to murder, Michael Bowles was charged Monday in connection to the July 25 death of his father, Mario, with the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony; shooting or stabbing in the commission of a felony; arson; concealing a dead body; maliciously shooting or throwing missiles; and the use of a sawed-off gun in a crime.

After a brief scheduling hearing Tuesday, Bowles’ attorney, Ryan Campbell declined to discuss what defense he might employ, but said his client intends to plead not guilty at trial.

During the hearing, Campbell did not oppose prosecutor Sean Morgan’s request that Bowles be held without bond until trial, which was scheduled to begin on Sept. 17.

In pre-indictment hearings, psychiatrist Sabah Hadi testified that he diagnosed Bowles as a high-functioning schizophrenic in 2014, according to Loudoun Now.

Hadi testified medications could control Bowles’ condition, but he resisted taking them, resulting in delusions, hallucinations and fights with his parents.

Forensic analysis indicated the shirt worn by Mario Bowles and carpet in the home had gasoline on them. Prosecutors said that Michael Bowles used the gas as an accelerant when setting the house on fire.

A high school friend of the younger Bowles, James Nowland, testified that he posted a photo of his 12-gauge shotgun on his Facebook page, saying he wanted to sell it. In July 2016, the two met in the Leesburg Walmart parking lot, and he sold the weapon to Bowles, he testified.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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