A Columbia man has been placed on two years' probation for making a false statement to police to avoid testifying in the assault trial of Mickey Bowie.
The case attracted countywide attention after Mickey Bowie's twin brother was found hanged from a high school baseball field backstop. The brothers, who had been charged with assault and resisting arrest at a party in January 1990 at the Jessup Red Roof Inn, claimed police beat them during the arrest.
Family and friends of the brothers claimed that Carl Jonathan Bowie's death was suspicious, but an investigation determined it was suicide.
On Monday morning, Howard County Circuit Judge Dennis Sweeney sentenced Jeffrey Phipps, 24, to a suspended six-month sentence in the Howard County Detention Center. Phipps was placed on two years' supervised probation and fined $100.
Making a false statement to police is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and or a $500 fine.
Phipps entered an Alford plea during the sentencing. His defense attorney, Phillip Dantes, said his client maintains he told the truth.
The defense and the state agreed to the conviction to dissolve the matter, Mr. Dantes said.
"The hope is Mr. Phipps will end up with a clean record and the wounds all this [opened] in Howard County will disappear," Mr. Dantes said later.
The false statement occurred July 5, 1990, the day Phipps was subpoenaed to testify in the assault trial of his next-door neighbor and friend, Mickey Bowie.
In May 1990, Carl Bowie was found hanging at a backstop at the Oakland Mills High School. The night before Mickey Bowie's scheduled trial, Phipps said he went to the backstop to "say goodbye" to Carl Bowie, also his friend, his attorney said.
Phipps told police that while he was at the school, he was attacked from behind and left unconscious. Photographs showed his neck had been scarred, Mr. Dantes said.
Judge Sweeney said the suspended sentence allows Phipps a chance "to get his life together."
Phipps thanked the judge.
"I wish all this would come to an end. . . . It's been very stressful," Phipps said.
In November 1991, a county police board cleared two officers accused of excessive force and improper conduct.