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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Lester Bower Jr. Murder Case

     In 1983, 35-year-old Lester Leroy Bower, Jr., a graduate of Texas A & M with a good job as a chemical salesman, lived in Arlington, Texas with his wife and two daughters. On October 8, 1983, Bower responded to a newspaper ad regarding a ultralight airplane on sale for $4,000.

     That Saturday afternoon, at a hanger on the B & B Ranch in Sherman, Texas, Bower met with the seller of the plane, 51-year-old Bob G. Tate. Bower had driven to the ranch, 60 miles north of Dallas, with the intent of killing Mr. Tate and stealing the building contractor's plane.

     As Bower loaded the small aircraft into his truck after murdering Mr. Tate with a .22-caliver handgun, three of the dead man's friends showed up at the ranch to watch the Texas-Oklahoma football game. Caught in the act, Bower shot to death 39-year-old Ronald Mayes, a former Sherman police officer; Philip Good, a 29-year-old sheriff's deputy; and Jerry Mac Brown, a 52-year-old interior designer.

     At Bower's May 1984 trial, the prosecutor put on a circumstantial case that led to a guilty verdict. The judge, in accordance with the recommendation of the jurors, sentenced Lester Bower to death.

     On May 20, 2015, 31 years following the guilty verdict and death sentence, the 67-year-old Bower, with his execution date approaching, gave an interview to a local reporter. In referring to his impending death, Bower said, "If this is going to bring some closure to the victims' families, then good. But if they think by this they're executing the person who killed their loved ones then that's going to come up a little short."

     On Wednesday June 3, 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Bower's last ditch appeal, the condemned man, from his death-house gurney, thanked his lawyers, his wife and his daughters for their "unwavering support."

     By way of a final statement, Bower said, "Much has been written about this case, not all of it has been the truth." Shortly after these last words, the executioner administered the lethal dose of pentobarbital.

     Lester Bower was one of the longest serving and oldest inmates on Texas' death row. 

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