Judge sentences Bowling to federal prison term

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

GREENVILLE – Former Smithville coach Dwight Bowling will spend nearly 23 years in prison, given time off for one month per year on a 25-year sentence in federal prison, U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper told him today.

The sex-with-minors scandal shocked the region’s high school athletics world, which held Bowling in high regard.

In Smithville, where he coached for 28 years, the football stadium named in his honor was un-named after his arrest.

Bowling, 56, pleaded guilty April 27 to three federal counts – two that he transported minor males across state lines for sex and a third that he tried to stop a witness from telling authorities about their longtime relationship.

His sentence reflects a deal struck with federal prosecutors that he would plead guilty and avoid a trial in exchange for fewer charges against him. He originally was indicted on five counts and faced up to 60 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.

He still faces a state sentence after he entered qualified guilty pleas to multiple charges from Monroe and Itawamba county grand juries.

They accuse him of fondling and sexual battery of minor males.

District Attorney John Young asked Circuit Judge James L. Roberts Jr. to sentence Bowling to 50 years in prison, tacked on after his federal sentence is complete.

Bowling coached championship teams at Smithville and even wrote about book about his coaching philosophy.

After his lengthy career in Smithville, he retired and took a similar job at Sulligent, Ala.

Last Sept. 17, he was arrested by federal and state authorities on his way home from a Sulligent High School football victory. He’s been held in the Lafayette County Detention Center almost ever since.

For more details, read Wednesday’s NEMS Daily Journal.

Contact Patsy Brumfield at patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com

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