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Second trial in VFW murder set to start Monday

The man accused of killing of Laurens resident James Bolt in 2003 at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars building is expected to come to come to trial Monday.

Arthur “A.J.” Bowers

Arthur “A.J.” Bowers is charged with murder in the nearly 15-year-old case that shocked the local community because of its brutality. Prosecutors aim to prove that Bowers, now 32, entered the VFW building around closing time and bludgeoned Bolt to death on Sept. 26, 2003.

Though the case was never closed by the Laurens Police Department, it remained cold until the LPD and investigators from the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office uncovered new evidence. Bowers was arrested in Georgetown and charged with murder in July of 2015. He was transferred to the Johnson Detention Center on March 31 of last year, where he remains.

Bowers’ trial begins almost a year after Brenda Roberts was found guilty of accessory after the fact to murder. Roberts, 69 when convicted, received 14 years in prison for her role in the cover up of the murder.

Prosecutors successfully argued that Roberts washed and then destroyed the blood-soaked clothes worn by Bowers during the commission of the alleged crime.

The April term of 8th Circuit Court in Laurens will begin with jury selection for the trial Monday morning at the Hillcrest Square Judiciary Complex.

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