By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal
OXFORD – Dwight Bowling, who led Smithville’s football team to two state championships, faces up to life in prison if he’s found guilty of five federal counts against him today.
District Attorney John Young said he will present the state’s 10 counts against Bowling when the cases are ready.
In the case’s latest development, two federal judges took themselves out or “recused” themselves from presiding – Chief District Judge Michael P. Mills and Judge Sharion Aycock.
While their recusal orders do not explain why, it’s likely they know Bowling and his family since Mills and Aycock hail from Itawamba County.
Now, Bowling’s case will be under the scrutiny of District Judge W. Allen Pepper in Greenville.
Posted earlier today, the federal indictment accuses Bowling, 55, of attempting to obstruct a criminal investigation and grand jury proceeding because of what he said on two recorded telephone calls to a now 19-year-old with whom he is alleged to have had a sexual relationship for six years.
Recordings of those calls were played in court Wednesday, and Bowling can be heard pleading with the young man not to tell anyone about anything they’ve done, and that he will pay the man for his silence.
The other four counts cite specific dates alleging Bowling transported a minor across state lines into Alabama for sex. One of those counts includes the allegations that the actions were for “deviant sexual intercourse by a school employee.”
If he’s found guilty at trial, Bowling faces up to 20 years in prison on the witness tampering charge, and up to life in prison on each of the other charges.
Bowling coached football 28 years at Smithville High School, then took a similar job at Sulligent, Ala., five years ago.
Testimony Wednesday alleged the sex occurred on fishing trips, at Bowling’s home, one boy’s home and at the Sulligent athletic field house.
Bowling, in jail without bond, will face an arraignment on the indictment and enter a plea at that time. He is represented by Oxford attorney, Christi R. McCoy.
For more details, read Friday’s Daily Journal.