As reported in this AP piece, “Gary Ray Bowles, a serial killer who preyed on older gay men during an eight-month spree that left six dead, was executed by lethal injection Thursday at Florida State Prison.” Here is more:
Bowles received the death penalty for the November 1994 murder of Walter Hinton in Jacksonville Beach. Hinton was Bowles’ sixth and final known victim in a series of killings in an eight-month span in 1994 that terrorized the Interstate 95 corridor and won him the nickname “I-95 killer.”
It began in Daytona Beach with the murder of John Hardy Roberts. In between, there were victims in Rockville, Maryland; Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta; and Nassau County, Florida. In each case, Bowles had a signature: He stuffed the victims’ throats with objects — towels, rags, toilet paper, dirt, leaves and even a sex toy….
It wasn’t hard for Daytona Beach police to figure out who killed Roberts, the first victim in March 1994: Bowles left a probation document at the scene and also was caught on an ATM camera trying to withdraw money from Roberts’ account. What proved more difficult was capturing him, something they were unable to do until after five other men in three states had been slain.
Bowles, 57, was raised in West Virginia, where he experienced drugs and violence at a young age. His father was a coal miner who died of black lung before he was born. His mother remarried multiple times, and his first two stepfathers were abusive, according to court records. His mother and brother testified that Bowles began drinking, smoking marijuana and huffing glue when he was 11 years old. When he was 13, he fought back against his second stepfather, smashing a rock in his head and nearly killing him, according to court records. That’s when Bowles left home. Investigators say Bowles survived by letting gay men perform sex acts on him for money….
He also had a history of violence against women. He was convicted of beating and raping his girlfriend while living in Tampa in 1982 and sentenced to eight years in prison. The victim had severe injuries, including tears on her vagina and anus.