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1st trial begins in VFW Bolt murder

Nearly 14 years after the murder of James Bolt, the trial of a woman charged with accessory after the fact began Monday in 8th Circuit Court.

Brenda Roberts, 65, was arrested in July of 2015 in Laurens County. About that same time, Arthur Jason “A.J.” Bowers, who was then living in Murrells Inlet, S.C., was arrested by Georgetown County police and returned to Laurens to face murder and armed-robbery charges.

Bowers is expected to stand trial in the near future for the 2003 murder of Bolt, who was found beaten to death at the Laurens Veterans of Foreign Wars building on Sept. 26, 2003.

“Under no circumstances does the state blame Ms. Roberts in the murder of Mr. Bolt,” 8th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Warren Mowry said during his opening statement to the jury.

Mowry went on to explain that the prosecution intends to prove that Roberts was involved in an attempt to cover up Bowers’ involvement in the crime by washing and destroying his bloody clothes and not being forthcoming during interviews with police.

Criminal Defense Attorney Richard H. Warder, of Greenville, said his client had no knowledge that a crime had been committed.

“My client’s conduct is only criminal if she knew a crime had been committed and knew she was destroying evidence,” Warder said. “It was what she knew then, not what we know now.”

Because Bowers has yet to stand trial, the prosecution is given the task of proving there was a murder and armed robbery before they can move on to proving Roberts was an accessory to those crimes.

Then, Mowry and his team must prove that Roberts acted willingly in the cover-up attempt by harboring and assisting Bowers.

Read the entire story in this week’s edition of the Laurens County Advertiser. Follow and this weekend’s Extra for complete coverage of the trial.

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