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Man Gets 35 Years for Carjacking, Receiving Stolen Property

A man who blamed his legal troubles on a meth addiction was sentenced to 35 years in prison this week after being convicted on charges of first degree robbery, receiving stolen property, and first degree persistent felony offender.

Justin Bowlin, 37, said that he had been abusing drugs since he was 9 years old. 

More than two years ago, Bowlin was arrested.

Kentucky State Police took Bowlin in on January 12, 2017 in Henry County after he led a trooper on a high-speed chase for fifteen miles.

After stopping Bowlin, troopers noticed blood on the driver's side doors and windows. They learned that the car had been stolen earlier that day in Covington. But that wasn't the only vehicle he had stolen.

At trial, which lasted four days last week, prosecutors presented evidence that Bowlin lost control of another stolen vehicle and crashed it into a utility pole in Independence. A woman stopped to help and Bowlin reportedly asked her how long before the police showed up. At that point, he jumped in the passenger seat of a car driven by a young mother who had her daughter with her. The mother thought Bowlin needed help, but said she became scared when Bowlin said he had a gun.

She stopped the car and asked him to get out, but he began punching her in the face as she struggled to remove her seat belt to jump out of the car. Once she got out, Bowlin climbed to the driver's seat and ran over the mother's feet as she pulled her daughter to safety.

Independence Police found the first car with a trunk full of power tools taken from a store in Fort Thomas earlier in the day. The tools were valued at more than $2,000.

On Monday, Kenton County Circuit Judge Kathleen Lape followed the recommendation of the jury from the March trial and sentenced Bowlin to 35 years in prison.

Bowlin's attorney requested the minimum sentence of 20 years. Lape declined.

"A good Samaritan stopped to help you and you did these horrible things to her and her child and terrified her," Lape said. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said Bowlin has made a career of assaults and thefts that cannot be excused by drug abuse. "The only time this community is safe from Justin Bowlin is when he's behind bars and that's exactly where he deserves to be," said Sanders.

-Staff report

Photo via Kenton County Detention Center