IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
IN THE MATTER OF:
Loretta M. Bowles
O R D E R
Claimant appeared in person and by counsel, Jason D. Parmer, Attorney at Law.
Robert D. Williams, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.
An application of the claimant, Loretta M. Bowles, for an award under the West Virginia
Crime Victims Compensation Act, was filed June 19, 2003. The report of the Claim Investigator,
filed December 12, 2003, recommended that no award be granted, to which the claimant filed a
response in disagreement. An Order was issued on January 22, 2004, upholding the Investigator's
recommendation and denying the claim, in response to which the claimant's request for hearing was
filed February 10, 2004. This matter came on for hearing November 9, 2004, claimant appearing in
person and by counsel, Jason D. Parmer, and the State of West Virginia by counsel, Robert D.
Williams, Assistant Attorney General.
On December 31, 2002, the 44-year-old claimant was assaulted by her nephew at her mother's
residence in Sandstone, Summers County.
The claimant testified at the hearing of this matter that several days before the afternoon in question, she and her nephew, Russell Bowles, had words concerning Mr. Bowles' dogs. The
claimant had gone to their shared mailbox to retrieve the mail, and Russell commented that he was
going to turn his dogs loose because they were getting skinny. When the claimant advised him that
keeping the dogs penned up would make them fat instead, Russell cursed at her before going back
into his house.
Later that day, according to the claimant, Russell drove his father Monty to Hinton to get his
car. Monty (who is the claimant's brother) had supper that evening with the claimant and their
mother, Mary M. Bowles. The claimant revealed to her brother that she and Russell had had an
incident that day. Monty stated that he "heard all about it." It did not appear to the claimant that
Russell had told his father the truth about what happened.
A few days later, the claimant's brother and nephew were outside in the yard. Since they were
there together, the claimant approached and asked Russell to tell his father the truth about what was
said. Suddenly, Russell became enraged. He threw down his cigarette, cursed, and ran towards her.
When she pushed him away, he grabbed her and threw her against a fence. Russell's wife Brenda,
his father Monty, and the claimant's mother Mary intervened. When the claimant got up, she went
into the house and called the sheriff. Forty-five minutes later, a State trooper arrived and took
statements from Russell and Monty. The trooper asked the claimant and her mother only for their
names and addresses. Apparently, Russell had called the State Police.
The claimant testified that she went to the hospital for treatment of her injuries, and that a few
days later she went to see Summers County Sheriff Wheeler. He advised her to get a "DVP" to keep
Russell away from her, and she did so. Sheriff Wheeler also served the warrant upon the claimant
which had been issued by the State Police on behalf of Russell. The claimant revealed that she did not press charges against Russell because she didn't want him going to prison, and because her
mother did not want her to. At the hearing of the charges against the claimant, the matter was
dismissed without prejudice.
Also present at the hearing of this claim was t
he claimant's mother, Mary M. Bowles, who
corroborated her daughter's testimony.
The initial denial of this matter was based on the claimant's alleged contributory misconduct
in that she initiated the incident by shoving the offender. However, from the evidence adduced at the
hearing, it is the decision of this Court that its previous ruling be overturned. The claimant's actions
were clearly in self-defense, and did not amount to contributory misconduct. An award of $904.50
is therefore granted pursuant to the Claim Investigator's calculations as set forth in his memorandum
dated November 24, 2004. Should
the claimant later submit any additional unreimbursed allowable
expenses relating to this incident, they will be reviewed by the Court at that time.