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Charges Filed In 2007 Killing Of Activist

Man Already Sentenced To Life In Prison For Rape In Separate Case

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Fernandina Beach Police Department announced Thursday that first-degree murder and sexual battery charges were filed against a convicted rapist in the brutal 2007 killing of 76-year-old Ele Colborn, a well-known community activist who was found beaten in her home.

Police said Colborn was found beaten in her Lakewood subdivision home on Inverness Road on April 20, 2007, and never regained consciousness. They said she died April 24, 2007, at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center.

Dusty Bowman, 39, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested on June 28, 2007, in St. Augustine and subsequently charged by the Fernandina Beach Police Department with a similar burglary and assault that occurred in the Ocean Sound subdivision on June 7, 2007. After that attack, he fled to St. Augustine to avoid detection and arrest, police said.

Bowman was located in St. Augustine and suspected in the burglary and assault of an elderly woman on June 22, 2007, in that city, although was not charged.

Bowman was held on outstanding warrants for violation of probation in Duval County until the Fernandina Beach Police Department was able to bring additional charges. Bowman was eventually convicted of charges stemming from the June 7 attack and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

About a year later, prosecutors in St. Augustine were able to bring similar charges from the June 22 case in their city. Bowman pleaded guilty during a suppression of evidence hearing. He was then sentenced to life in prison.

Meanwhile, the Colborn investigation continued to receive the highest priority by the Fernandina Beach Police Department, police said. As the two predicate cases were being resolved by the courts, much was done to further the homicide case, to include professional consultations, a psychological profile and case review by the Behavioral Analysis Unit at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va., police said.

In addition, one of the leading experts in the world was brought into the case to examine the physical evidence, police said. Those having contact with Bowman were interviewed and Bowman was monitored within the state prison system, police said.

Last Friday, a former cellmate of Bowman's at Apalachee Correctional Institute in Sneads provided information about the case after Bowman showed him a letter from the Fernandina Beach Police Department, police said. They said the witness contacted Police Chief Jim Hurley and advised that Bowman still had the letter, 18 months after it was written, and that he acknowledged responsibility in the Colborn killing.

On Tuesday at the Charlotte Correctional Institute in Punta Gorda, Bowman gave a taped statement to Hurley and Police Capt. David Bishop, confessing to the killing of Colborn, while providing detailed information about the crime that only the killer would know, police said.