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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/13/09

Veronza Bowers - Another Victim of America's Criminal Justice System

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Veronza Bowers, Jr. - Another Victim of America's Criminal Justice System - by Stephen Lendman


On September 15, 1973, Veronza Bowers, Jr. was arrested in Mill Valley, California and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. After state charges were dropped for lack of probable cause to obtain a search warrant, the FBI arrested Bowers and charged him with the first-degree murder of National Park Service ranger Kenneth Patrick on August 5, 1973 at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco.


At trial, testimonies from two government informants, Alan Veale and Jonathan Shoher, proved crucial. Both were also charged with the killing. Yet there were no independent eye-witnesses, and no evidence incriminated Bowers besides the word of these two men who had every incentive to cooperate with the Department of Justice.


Veale and Shoher were convicted bank robbers. In return for their testimony, their murder charges were dropped, and one of them served no prison time, was paid $10,000, and placed in the government's witness protection program.


Allegations were that the three men were at Point Reyes National Seashore to poach deer, ranger Patrick confronted them, and Bowers shot him three times. At trial, he testified for himself and steadfastly denied the charge. His wife's alibi testimony was dismissed as well as assertions by two relatives of the informants who insisted they were lying.


In April 1974, Bowers was convicted in San Francisco District Court and sentenced to life in prison. He's currently held at the United States Penitentiary (USP), Atlanta, Georgia.


In August 1979, after a failed prison escape from the Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution, Bowers became a model prisoner by focusing on his spiritual self. He became an author, musician, and student of Asian healing arts. He developed a strong interest in Buddhist meditation and hands-on healing techniques. He's an honorary Lompoc Tribe of Five Feathers member, a Native American spiritual and cultural group, and a mentor and founder of the All-Faith Meditation Group, a non-denominational spiritual organization devoted to healing meditation using the traditional Japanese shakuhachi flute.


At the expense of having his parole appeals denied, Bowers consistently maintains his innocence. Friends and supporters stand with him and offer testimony in his behalf.


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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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