COOS COUNTY — The man who abused his four-month-old son in 2015, causing injuries that later killed him, has been found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree.
According to a press release from the Coos County District Attorney, Michael Dean Bowman, 47, was found guilty of not just manslaughter in the first degree, but assault in the first degree and criminal mistreatment in the first degree.
This verdict was reached after a seven-day trial. The jury took only two and a half hours for deliberation.
Bowman was sentenced Friday morning, Aug. 2, in a Coos County courtroom to serve up to 10 years in prison.
Coos County Circuit Court Judge Martin Stone ordered that Bowman serve 120 months in prison for manslaughter in the first degree, 90 months in prison for assault in the first degree and 13 months in prison for criminal mistreatment in the first degree.
Each count is to be served concurrently. Bowman was also ordered to have an additional 36 months of post-prison supervision for each count, the press release stated.
On March 20, 2015, four-month-old Dillian Bowman was brought to Bay Area Hospital with a severe brain injury. There, medical staff discovered an “extensive and severe” brain injury. Not only that, but they found an old subdural hematoma along with a new subdural hematoma.
Dillian’s injuries were so severe, he was sent to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital where medical staff found further damage. He also had a serious retinal hemorrhage and retinal folds in both eyes, as well as a healing rib fracture.
“Dillian’s injuries were such that he was never able to recover,” the release said. “He ended up in a near-vegetative state, not being able to see, process sounds or swallow.”
A feeding tube was put in because he also couldn’t eat and he eventually needed a tracheotomy to help suction his throat because of his inability to swallow, the release said.
“It was like having a television that can't plug in,” Christina Gray described in a previous interview with The World, Dillian’s adoptive mother. “The eyes and brain and ears worked, but weren't connecting… He didn't roll over, had no cognitive movement or progression. His quality of life was limited. He didn't smile, didn't laugh.”
As Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier pointed out in previous interviews with The World and again in the new release, Dillian was not expected to survive long due to the injuries inflicted on him by Bowman.
Staff at BAH contacted police the day he first arrived on March 20, 2015, launching an investigation led by Coos Bay Police, assisted by the Coos County Major Crime Team with follow-up investigation, the release said.
“A decision was made not to pursue charges in 2015 because the only charges that could be filed were assault related,” the release continued. “It was decided that since it was clear that at some point Dillian would pass away, that it would be preferable to wait until that occurred so that a homicide type of charge could be pursued.”
After two weeks in Portland at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Dillian was placed in foster care where he found his way to Justin and Christina Gray in Coos County. The Gray’s specialize in taking care of severely disabled babies, but eventually adopted Dillian. From May of 2017 he became known as Dillian Bowman-Gray.
But the injuries ended up taking his life July 2017.
“When Dillian passed … police and the DA began extensive preparations to pursue a criminal case,” the release said. “The case was presented to the Coos County Grand Jury on March 27, 2018. The grand jury returned an indictment against Michael Dean Bowman….”
The grand jury also indicted the biological mother, Christine Bush, for criminal mistreatment in the first degree for failing to get Dillian proper medical care.
“Arrest warrants were issued and both Bowman and Bush were subsequently arrested in Curry County,” the release said, where Bush eventually pled guilty to her charge and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In Dillian’s memory, the Gray family is working on a park for handicapped children in North Bend called “Dillian’s Place.”
To donate to the project or for more information, visit www.dilliansplace.com