Kevin Dowling was sentenced to death by the State of Pennsylvania for the murder of a woman who was set to testify against him. According to court documents Kevin Dowling would sexually assault and rob a woman before taking off. Later Kevin Dowling would be recognized by the victim at the place where he worked and would call the police who would arrest Dowling. Dowling would be released from custody and would murder the victim to prevent her from testifying against him. Kevin Dowling would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Kevin Dowling 2022 Information
Parole Number: 849DV
Date of Birth: 06/12/1958
Height: 5′ 11″
Current Location: PHOENIX
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Kevin Dowling was convicted of killing a store clerk to prevent her testifying against him, the case featured on a recent episode of the Investigation Discovery series American Monster.
In 1996 Jennifer Myers was attacked at the Gray Fox Gallery in Spring Grove, PA, which she owned and operated. Her assailant had robbed and then attempted to rape her.
A few months later, Myers spotted her attacker working at a local gas station and called the police.
Dowling was charged with robbery and indecent assault, but Myers was found dead before the trial started. On October 20, 1997, she’d been shot in the head and chest at the same gallery where the attack had taken place.
During the trial, Dowling produced a videotape that he said showed he was away fishing at the time of the murder, however, detectives were not convinced, and experts examined the tape.
It took an astrophysicist recommended by NASA to work out using the sun that the time on the video did not match the actual time of day.
Kevin Dowling was found guilty of murder in 1998 and sentenced to death.
However, he continues to protest his innocence and has made various appeals complaining about his initial defense council.
He remains in prison, and there is currently a state ban on executions, so he’s likely to live out his remaining years in prison.
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It was August 5th 1996, and 44-year-old Jennifer Myers was busy working at the art gallery she owned in the small borough of Spring Grove in York County, Pennsylvania. However, she could not have known as she carried out her daily routine at the Gray Fox Gallery that her life was about to change forever.
Without warning, a man wearing sunglasses burst in with a gun, tied Jennifer up and sexually assaulted her before robbing the gallery and fleeing. Stunned and horrified by her ordeal, she called the police and the search began for her mystery assailant.
It didn’t take long for a break in the case to arrive. As Jennifer was picking up some groceries at a Sheetz convenience store in nearby Hanover just a few days later, she was taken aback to recognise her attacker working there.
When Jennifer called the authorities, the member of staff was identified as local resident Kevin Brian Dowling. His car was towed and impounded, with officers finding a pair of sunglasses that matched those worn by Jennifer’s attacker inside. There was also rope that matched the bindings used on her during the assault and a newspaper clipping covering the crime.
Kevin Dowling was charged with robbery and attempted rape and, as preparations were made to build a case against him for trial, it seemed as though the victim was going to get the justice she deserved
Unfortunately, this was not the case. On October 20th 1997, just two days before Jennifer was set to testify against Kevin Dowling, her husband Steve went to visit her at the art gallery. To his horror, he walked towards the counter to find his wife’s body lying prone on the floor.
She had been shot once in the chest, once in the left shoulder and once in her left eye. Steven Myers reported the murder at 3:08 PM and, when police rushed to the scene, they found a number of eyewitnesses had seen the aftermath of the crime.
A woman said she had almost been struck by a car leaving the shopping centre where the Gray Fox Gallery was located, while a man reported seeing a man in a strange black wig hanging around at roughly the time of the murder.
Investigators were not particularly surprised when the female eyewitness identified Kevin Brian Dowling as the man who had nearly run her over. When they again searched his vehicle, they discovered a letter he had written to Jennifer ahead of the trial, apparently asking for her forgiveness.
Furthermore, his flannel shirt, pants, hat and sneakers all tested positive for gunshot residue. Once again, it looked as though this would be a straightforward case against Kevin Brian Dowling for the murder of the woman he had so viciously attacked the year before.
However, a surprise did arrive for investigators when they raided his home. As detailed in the TV series American Monster, Dowling’s wife was amazed and angry to find her husband accused of Jennifer’s murder.
She claimed he had been on a fishing trip that day — and she had the evidence that seemed to prove it. There was a home video that Kevin Dowling had made as he fished on the lake, complete with timestamps covering the time of the murder. Could it be that Dowling wasn’t responsible for the murder at all?
Somewhat thrown by this development, investigators were forced to take another look at the crime scene and take into consideration evidence that could show someone else had killed Jennifer. Steven Myers was brought in for questioning and became a suspect, especially when it was discovered that he owned a gun similar to the one that had killed his wife.
But forensic examiners still weren’t convinced over Kevin Dowling’s alibi. After all, he had a clear motive for wanting to get rid of Jennifer: her silence when it came to potentially convicting him of attempted rape and robbery.
Detectives returned to the VHS tape produced by Dowling’s wife and took another look at it. Wasn’t it strange that someone would create such an extensive record of a fishing trip, particularly one where nothing of note was caught? A few clips might be understandable to document a whopper, but hours of nothing seemed strange to want as a keepsake.
Then a sharp-eyed detective saw something else that was odd: the position of the sun appeared to alter within a few frames to be much lower in the sky, despite the timestamp still saying the footage was from before midday.
Galvanised, investigators consulted a university professor and NASA astrophysicist to analyse the footage. Using careful calculations, he confirmed their suspicions: some of the video had been shot much later in the afternoon than the rest. The timestamp had been tampered with and Kevin Dowling could still be the murderer.
When faced with this, Dowling confessed that he had altered the timestamp on the video. However, he insisted he had done so to conceal from his wife the fact that he had been at a Harrisburg strip club at the time, not so he could travel to the art gallery to murder Jennifer Myers.
“I was concerned she might wonder why there was a four hour time gap in the video, since we had argued in the past about my frequenting these places,” he commented in an online post.
Nevertheless, investigators first sent Dowling to trial for the original attempted rape, for which he was convicted in April 1998 and sentenced to nine to 18 years in prison. On October 26th 1998, they then tried him for Jennifer’s murder based on the forensic evidence and the admission that Dowling had lied about the videotape.
The prosecution argued that his motive was to prevent Jennifer from testifying against him at the trial for his attempted rape and robbery charges.
There was also another interesting clue in the case: a link to the long black wig eyewitnesses said they had seen a man wearing at approximately the time of the murder. According to detectives who had been involved in the search of the Dowlings’ home, a photograph had been found of their daughter wearing — as part of a fancy dress costume — a wig that matched the one they had been looking for.
It belonged to Mrs Dowling, who had lent it to a friend, who in turn told police that she had given it back to Kevin Dowling when she returned it. He could therefore have had it in his possession when Jennifer was killed.
Corporal Julio Mendez from Pennsylvania State Police told Investigation Discovery’s Solved this addressed the problem of their never having found the alleged disguise Dowling wore.
“We never had the wig, but we did have the wig because we had a photo of his daughter wearing the wig,” he commented wryly.
A jury decided that Kevin Brian Dowling was guilty of first-degree murder and, after finding one aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstances, returned a verdict of death. Despite an appeal, a court ruled there was sufficient evidence to support this and the conviction was upheld in September 2005.
During his time in prison, Kevin Dowling has continued to insist that he did not murder Jennifer Myers. In a blog post, he offers a detailed list of arguments against the evidence presented to convict him, including the notion that the timing of the murder means he could not have been the culprit.
Indeed, he claims he was still at the lake — regardless of the altered timestamps — at the time the eyewitness was supposedly being almost hit by his car. He also claims he finds it suspicious that Steven Myers found the body when he says he did, arguing that he was in fact the killer and snuck out of work to murder his wife.
Dowling maintains that too much emphasis was placed on the fishing video as evidence when his actual alibi would have been his presence at the strip bar.
There is also a ‘Free Kevin Brian Dowling’ Facebook page that suggests Jennifer’s killer was left-handed and told her during the attack that he didn’t want to return to prison — somewhere Dowling had never been — among other theories that aim to support his innocence.
At a post-conviction hearing as recently as July 2021, Dowling’s attorney requested a new trial on the grounds that false evidence was presented during trial and physical evidence from the car had been improperly admitted, the York Dispatch reported.
Judge Robert J Eby did not make a ruling at the hearing but said he would consider the request, although all previous appeals have failed so far. Dowling’s original execution date was set for February 27th 2007, but the law states that death row inmates must exhaust all post-conviction relief options before they can be put to death.
Meanwhile, there is currently a state ban on executions anyway. It therefore looks as though, unless Kevin Brian Dowling can successfully argue that he didn’t kill Jennifer Myers, he will spend the rest of his days at the SCI Phoenix prison in Collegeville.
For Jennifer Myers’ family, this will no doubt bring little in the way of comfort.