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Bail denied to defendant in arson case

Daniel Bowden (Buy photo)

By Joe Beck

WOODSTOCK -- A Mauertown man accused of ramming his wife's vehicle and setting fire to their house will remain in jail after a judge refused to release him on bond at a hearing Tuesday in general district court.

Judge Amy Tisinger cited a history of alcohol-fueled violence in part of Daniel Bowden's criminal record as among her main reasons for rejecting his request for bail terms that would allow his release.

"In your case, I have to say you have a prior record that includes felonies and misdemeanors," Tisinger told Bowden, adding that some of the offenses involved violence and alcohol.

"This new incident is not just out of thin air," Tisinger said. "There is a context here in your prior criminal record."

Alcohol and violence are part of the case that authorities have built against Bowden, 49, who has been under arrest since the night the fire was reported on May 18. He is charged with attempted malicious wounding causing bodily injury, arson, public drunkenness and animal cruelty stemming from the death of a pet cat in the fire.

Shenandoah County Fire Marshal David Ferguson, who was in the courtroom, and other authorities have stated that Bowden set fire to the inside of a house at 2605 Zion Church Road that is owned by Bowden's wife, Lena. The incident followed an argument that had been going on for several days between the couple, according to Ferguson.

Bowden's attorney, Brandon Keller, told Tisinger that the argument stemmed from a disagreement over payment for work that Bowden has performed on the house, which was nearing completion after two years of construction. Ferguson estimated damage to the house at $15,000 to $20,000.

Authorities have also accused Bowden of ramming his pickup truck two or three times into a vehicle occupied by his wife in the moments before he set fire to the house.

Assistant commonwealth's attorney Ilona White said Bowden also threw a large rock through the window of the vehicle occupied by Lena Bowden. White said the rock, which hit on the side of the vehicle occupied by Lena Bowden, undermined Keller's claim that his client was not intending to hurt anyone.

Keller argued that the absence of injury to Lena Bowden, Daniel Bowden's residence in the area since childhood and nearby family members were among the reasons for granting bail.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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