Adrian Sawyer was sixteen when he murdered his best friend in New York State. According to court documents Adrian Sawyer was at the home of the murder victim, Maverick Bowman, and when the fifteen year old fell asleep Adrian Sawyer would place a machete beside his head and take a photo which he sent to a friend. Sawyer would then stab the sleeping teen causing his death. After the murder this teen killer would pour gas over the victim and set him on fire. Adrian Sawyer would be sentenced to life in prison without parole for twenty years
Adrian Sawyer 2023 Information
|DIN (Department Identification Number)
|SAWYER, ADRIAN J
|Date of Birth
|Race / Ethnicity
|Housing / Releasing Facility
|Date Received (Original)
|Date Received (Current)
|County of Commitment
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A Ticonderoga teen who killed his friend last summer was sentenced to up to life in state prison Friday as he heard the victim’s mother describe how the murder had devastated her and her family.
The defendant, Adrian J. Sawyer, 16, angered Judge Kelly McKeighan during the proceeding when his response when asked if he had a statement about the killing of 15-year-old Maverick Bowman was, “I’m alright.” That prompted the judge to tell him that was the wrong thing to say.
McKeighan went on to lambaste Sawyer for his seeming lack of remorse, saying that his communication with others before and after the murder and attempts to deflect blame to Bowman “defies logic.”
He said Sawyer seemed to want to make his actions a social media event by sending at least one friend a video and pictures of him holding a machete next to a sleeping Bowman’s neck before the killing. He said Sawyer seemed to be trying to blame Bowman for hard feelings over a girl, showing intent and a lack of sorrow.
After the killing, Sawyer called friends for a ride home, and comments he made led police to check the Bowman home, where they found the dead teen.
“You planned this, you thought about it, you wanted the world to know,” McKeighan said.
The judge’s comments came after a sobbing Amber Pelerin, Bowman’s mother, told McKeighan and Sawyer about the devastating effects of Bowman’s death. Maverick’s younger brother has not been able to move on and enjoy any of the things he used to do with his older brother, like play football, while she frequently has nightmares.
She said her son Maverick had a bright future, with a very high IQ as a child, and loved to be outdoors and help his family and friends whenever needed.
She asked that Sawyer never be released from prison.
“Because of what Adrian did, we will never get to see Maverick again, hear him laugh or see what amazing things he could have done,” she said.
“He took my son’s life, and pretty much mine and my family’s,” she added.
The two teens were among a group that had been hanging out at the home, partying and working on vehicles, in the days and hours before the July 26 killing.
They were the last two at the home on county Route 2, Putnam, that is owned by Bowman’s family when Bowman went to sleep and Sawyer became homicidal for reasons that are unclear. The two were described as best friends and were classmates at Ticonderoga High School.
Pelerin and Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan revealed information that hadn’t been previously released by police, including that Sawyer texted pictures to friends of him holding a machete.
After the killing, Sawyer poured fuel on Bowman’s body and started a small fire, “desecrating” the body, the judge pointed out.
Authorities have said the motive is unknown, although Sawyer had been upset about a conversation with a former girlfriend earlier in the night. Jordan said he believed Sawyer “created” the issue himself as an attempt at some sort of justification for what occurred, and that Sawyer’s “portrayal of this incident has not been accurate.”
Sawyer said the two teens smoked marijuana before the killing, but a drug test showed Bowman had not used the drug, Jordan noted.
“What he did was destroy two families with one incredibly horrific act,” Jordan said.
Jordan said Sawyer was close to Bowman’s family, and he had concerns that Sawyer showed no remorse for what he did. He said he showed no emotion the day of his arrest or at any court appearances.
“Maverick was asleep and completely defenseless,” Jordan said.
Sawyer’s lawyer, Marc Zuckerman, said Sawyer has been remorseful and was “very nervous and scared,” so he could not speak in court. His statement that he was “alright” simply meant that he had no desire to speak, not that he was actually alright under the circumstances, Zuckerman explained.
He said his client has a 61 IQ and a long documented history of mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Zuckerman said the defense had a “viable” argument against the charges that Sawyer was under the influence of an “extreme emotional disturbance” at the time of the killing, but his client wanted to accept responsibility for what he did.
“He wanted to do that because he did not want to fight this case, deny his guilt in any way,” he said. “It was Adrian’s decision all along to not have a trial, not make the family of the victim go through an emotional trial.”
Bowman died from a knife wound to his neck that severed his jugular vein and carotid artery. Police initially believed the machete had been used to kill Bowman, but a review of the injuries by a forensic pathologist led to the conclusion that a serrated knife appeared to be the murder weapon.
Sawyer will have to serve at least 20 years before becoming eligible for parole. He will be housed in designated state prison units for teens until he turns 18.
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A 16-year-old who killed his 15-year-old best friend by slicing his neck with a machete and then setting him on fire to cover it up was sentenced on Friday to 20 years in state prison.
Adrian J. Sawyer did not have much to say for himself in Washington County Court when Judge Kelly McKeighan declared his sentence
The mother of Maverick R. Bowman, Sawyer’s victim, said the January plea deal in which Sawyer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder is not enough for the teen who turned her life “upside down.”
“My son, for absolutely no reason, was brutally murdered while he was asleep,” said Bowman’s mother, Amber Pellerin, speaking between sobs. “My son was a loving, caring person who would have never done anything to Adrian. If you were having a bad day, my son would have done anything to make you laugh or smile.”
Judge McKeighan asked Sawyer if he would like to say anything to the family. Sawyer replied, “I’m alright,” angering McKeighan.
“That is the most incorrect statement I have ever heard,” McKeighan said. “It’s inexplicable, it defies logic.”
Bowman was killed on the early morning of July 26 in a second home owned by his family in Putnam. According to Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan, the two Ticonderoga teens were hanging out in the garage there, tinkering with vehicles. At about 1 a.m., Bowman fell asleep in a chair in the house. While Bowman slept, Sawyer took Bowman’s cell phone and watched videos. At 3:35 a.m. when he sent a Snapchat video detailing what he planned to do with a machete. After that, Jordan said, Sawyer went to the garage, got some gasoline and ignited Bowman. At 3:55 a.m., he called someone to come and pick him up at the scene of the crime.
Sawyer was arrested later that day and was charged with second-degree murder and arson.
Bowman’s mother said her son was five days away from his 16th birthday and was looking forward to driving. But since his death, she can’t sleep, is plagued by nightmares and lost her job.
“Adrian is a selfish and disgusting excuse for a human being,” she said in her victim impact statement. “Why should he ever get out?”
District Attorney Jordan said there is not a sentence that is appropriate for the crime. He also said he found Sawyer’s demeanor disturbing.
“It was a deliberate act,” Jordan said. “And through the whole time, we have spent countless hours with Adrian, not once did he show remorse. On the day of his arrest, Ticonderoga police said he sat expressionless. That continues through to this day. He’s a danger to himself and others.”
Jordan told the judge that Sawyer should never be released. Still, McKeighan abided by the plea deal of a 20 years-to-life sentence, which included dropping the arson charge. Jordan also told Sawyer his crime was “unforgivable” and said he was troubled that Sawyer made it a “social media event.”
Sawyer’s attorney, Marc Zuckerman, said that Adrian Sawyer is remorseful. But with a recorded IQ of 61, he does not have the words to express himself. Zuckerman also said that Sawyer suffers from “extreme emotional distress” and is an “internal and shy person” who is nervous and scared.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Zuckerman said. “Adrian made the ultimate decision to waive his constitutional rights to a trial and instead plead guilty. He took full responsibility and wants to do that because he does not want to fight the case. He didn’t want to put the family through it.”
Zuckerman said he had a viable defense with two psychologists lined up to testify on behalf of Sawyer, who his attorney emphasized is only 16.
Jordan said the whole ordeal has devastated both the Sawyer and Bowman families.
“Usually, there is some feeling of satisfaction at the end of a case. We took a person who did something horrible and held them accountable,” Jordan said. “What struck all of us with this case, there is no good result. We are never going to know why he did what he did. We do know he destroyed two families with one incredibly horrific act. That alone keeps it from having any sense of satisfaction. It’s truly a sad day.”