Springfield church celebrates life of murdered founder

Police say 76-year-old pastor was beaten to death

Published On: May 01 2013 04:05:33 PM EDT   Updated On: May 01 2013 07:02:50 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Gathered in a house of God, members of the Glorious Church of the Lord Jesus Christ tried to understand the evil that took Pastor John Bowser's life.

"When they showed his face on TV, I fainted. No, Jesus, no," said church member Jackie Robinson.

Members of the Springfield church were stunned by the brutal beating death of the 76-year-old man who founded their church. Robinson said he still had a lot of work to do and can't believe he's gone.

"It just wasn't his time.  It just wasn't his time, at all. They came and got him too early," parishioner Henry Stokes said.

Investigators said 24-year-old Terrence Wright confessed to killing Bowser in the 1600 block of North Market Street by beating him in the head with a hammer. Police went to that address and found a body in the kitchen of the home just before noon.

"He confessed he had taken somebody's life," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Sgt. Lonnie Mills. "He was in the victim's vehicle when he arrived."

Police said Wright told them his motivation for the killing was to steal money so he could buy crack cocaine. Wright was charged with murder.

According to records, Wright was just released from the Duval County jail 12 days ago on a May 2012 conviction for petty theft and violation of probation. He had also served nearly two years in state prison on an October 2009 conviction for drug possession.

Church members said Bowser, who lived in Virginia, has several affiliated churches along the East Coast and founded the Springfield church in Springfield church 30 years ago. They said he visits regularly and had just preached at a revival on Sunday.