Author Topic: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater | Nova Scotia | April 17, 2001  (Read 9618 times)

Besani

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Boyfriend charged in death of infant

 COUNTY - A former Lunenburg County man faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter.

 Peter Edward Stewart, 22, of Pleasant River was arrested April 25, a week after Brandy Bowman died at the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children. An autopsy indicated she died from injuries consistent with a combination of shaken baby syndrome and asphyxia due to strangulation.

 He was arraigned in Liverpool provincial court April 30 and will remain in custody until his next court appearance, scheduled for May 28. A date for a preliminary hearing is expected to be set then. His lawyer is also expected to make a bail application in Nova Scotia Supreme Court sometime this month.

 Mr. Stewart made a brief appearance in Bridgewater provincial court April 26 where he waived the reading of the charges against him and agreed to remain in custody until he could be arraigned in Liverpool Monday. He continued to deny responsibility as he was led into a Bridgewater courtroom last week.

 "I didn't do it," he said. "No way I did this, not a chance."

 Outside a group of friends supported his claim saying violence was out of character for the "kind-hearted, soft-spoken" man.

 "There's no possible way he did it," said a friend who went to New Germany High School with Mr. Stewart.

 "All he wanted was a family," said the teenage girl who asked not to be identified. "He apologized if he had to punish her."

 But that was little consolation to Brandy's father who watched as the man accused of murdering his daughter was led to a waiting van to be transferred to the provincial jail in Centre.

 "I just hope everybody responsible pays," said Aaron Lohnes of Dayspring during a brief discussion with reporters. Mr. Lohnes made a short statement before his friend Chad Publicover said the police have advised them not to answer any more questions.

 Mr. Stewart and the child's mother, Deeonne Noel Bowman, had been living together for only a few weeks when Brandy Bowman was taken to hospital Easter weekend with injuries police called suspicious. He was apparently home alone with the child while his girlfriend was at work in Bridgewater April 14.

 After the incident, Mr. Stewart's father told another newspaper his son called him for help on April 14 saying Brandy had fallen down a flight of stairs. Together they took the injured child to a waiting ambulance in Baker Settlement. The toddler was taken to South Shore Regional Hospital and later transferred to the IWK where she died three days later.

 Although preliminary autopsy results indicated Brandy had been murdered, police waited until the medical examiner's final report before charging Mr. Stewart last week. A second-degree murder charge indicates police believe the act wasn't premeditated. However, conviction still carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

 The autopsy indicated Brandy died from injuries consistent with a combination of shaken baby syndrome and asphyxia due to strangulation. Shaken baby syndrome is the term used to describe injuries babies and very young children sustain from being violently shaken back and forth in a quick jerking motion.

 Effects can include subdural haematoma where blood collects between the brain and the skull, tearing of brain tissue, swelling of the brain, bleeding along the back, inside layer of the child's eyes, retinal detachment, bone fractures of the skull and ribs, mental retardation, coma and death. Symptoms include glassy eyes, convulsions, irritability, fixed pupils, seizures, sleepiness or inactivity, breathing problems, vomiting, choking, swelling of the head, pooling of blood in the eyes. The child's head may be turned completely to one side.

  A private memorial service was held for Brandy Bowman April 21. A public service was held last weekend at Sweeny's Funeral Home in Bridgewater.

 Cst. Leanne MacDonald of the Queens County RCMP said Monday no further charges are expected to be laid in Brandy's death.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 09:08:52 AM by Besani »

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 07:12:14 AM »
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Murder preliminary set for January Man accused in toddler's death remains free on bail


Lisa Brown
 Lighthouse staff
 



 LIVERPOOL - A former Lunenburg County man will return to court in January for a preliminary hearing into allegations that he murdered his girlfriend's toddler.

 Twenty-two-year-old Peter Edward Stewart stood quietly in the overcrowded Liverpool courtroom Monday morning waiting for his name to be called. Dressed in a white shirt, blue tie and navy pants, the clean-cut young man then made a brief appearance before the judge.

 Mr. Stewart faces a single count of second-degree murder in the death of two-year-old Brandy Aaron Bowman. He was arrested in April, after an autopsy revealed that the little girl's death was caused by injuries consistent with a combination of shaken baby syndrome and asphyxia due to strangulation.

 Brandy had arrived at the South Shore Regional Hospital by ambulance April 14. Her mother was at work in Bridgewater when Mr. Stewart supposedly called his father for help, saying the child had fallen down a flight of stairs. Mr. Stewart and Deeonne Bowman had only been living together for a few weeks.

 The toddler was transferred to the IWK where she died three days later.

 A charge of second-degree murder indicates police believe the act was not premeditated. However, if convicted, Mr. Stewart still faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

 Defence lawyer Don Murray told the court Monday he and Crown attorney Herman Felderhof have agreed to set aside three days for the preliminary hearing. That will begin January 14 in Liverpool.

 Mr. Stewart remains free on $20,000 bail. The terms of his release, including an order that he have no contact with Deeonne Bowman, will continue.

 He is also prohibited from having contact with Brandy's father and anyone with a criminal record. He cannot accompany children under the age of seven unless another adult is present, and he cannot consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs. He must report weekly to the Bridgewater RCMP and live with his uncle in Colpton.


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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 07:16:41 AM »
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Mother testifies boyfriend was good with her daughter

Lisa Brown

  COUNTY - The second-degree murder trial of the man accused of killing his girlfriend's toddler began Monday in Supreme Court in Bridgewater.

 Twenty-three-year-old Peter Edward Stewart of Pleasant River began the day by changing his method of trial. Having previously elected to have a judge and jury hear the case against him, Mr. Stewart re-elected to trial by Supreme Court judge sitting alone.

Continued from Page 1

 He is charged in the death of two-year-old Brandy Deeonne Aaron Bowman, who died at the IWK in Halifax in April 2001. She'd been rushed to the South Shore Regional, then transferred to the children's hospital late on April 14.

 The Crown called its first witness Monday. The child's mother, 23-year-old Deeonne Bowman, spent the day on the stand.

 Ms Bowman testified that she began a relationship with Mr. Stewart shortly after she started working at the Cookville Irving - where he was also employed - in February 2001. Within a few weeks, she and Brandy moved from their previous home in Bridgewater to Mr. Stewart's place in Pleasant River.

 She told the court she and Mr. Stewart shared caring for the toddler. Although Mr. Stewart didn't have much experience with children, Ms Bowman said he was good with her daughter and she trusted him to take care of her. She believed he loved Brandy.

 Ms Bowman said she never saw Mr. Stewart hurt or mishandle her daughter and Brandy showed no signs of being afraid of him. Under cross-examination, she said her daughter and Mr. Stewart were like playmates and he seemed proud to take Brandy places with him.

 On the evening of April 14, Ms Bowman testified the three of them spent time colouring and making Easter decorations on the living-room floor. Around 7 p.m., she and Mr. Stewart tucked Brandy in for the night with her bottle in the toddler's second-storey bedroom.

 The couple then filled plastic Easter eggs with candy and scattered them around the house for the little girl to find in the morning which was Easter Sunday.

 Brandy wanted another bottle around 7:30 p.m. and Mr. Stewart took it to her. Ms Bowman got ready for the 10 p.m. start of her night shift and left, checking in on Brandy just before she left. She said her little girl was fine in her bed.

 Shortly after she arrived at work, Ms Bowman said Mr. Stewart's father arrived at the Irving and told her Brandy had been injured in an accident. He and his girlfriend drove her to the hospital, where she was met by Mr. Stewart who she described as "worked up" and "distraught." He'd been crying and he was shaking.

 Mr. Stewart told her he'd been in the living room when he heard a noise. He went to check and found Brandy lying on the floor against a door at the bottom of the stairs. He told her the little girl was convulsing and her eyes were rolled back, so he called his father and an ambulance.

 A short time later, Ms Bowman said, a doctor told her Brandy was not breathing on her own and was going to the IWK. Ms Bowman travelled there with her mother and Brandy's father, Aaron Lohnes, while Mr. Stewart went home to get her some clothes. He met them at the Halifax hospital a few hours later, then left the next morning.

 Ms Bowman's recollection of events over the next few days varied. She recalled speaking with doctors, social workers and police officers at various points. On April 16, she went home to Pleasant River for the night to see Mr. Stewart, returning to the hospital the next morning.

 At 3 p.m. that afternoon, Brandy was taken off life supports. The little girl died a short while later.

 The RCMP later released the results of an autopsy which concluded she died from injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome. That term is used to describe injuries young children sustain from being violently shaken back and forth in a quick, jerking motion. It typically results in bleeding between the brain and skull, swelling of the brain, and bleeding along the back of the eyes.

 Much of Ms Bowman's five hours on the witness stand Monday was spent reviewing injuries Brandy had prior to April 14. Those included a bite mark on her arm, which Ms Bowman said Mr. Stewart caused by biting Brandy too hard while trying to break the toddler of her biting habit. Although she had difficulty recalling specifics, Ms Bowman had also told police in her statements in April 2001 about bruises near Brandy's hipbones, which she attributed to Mr. Stewart playing "airplane" with the little girl above his head.

 Ms Bowman said Brandy had never sustained an injury which required medical attention prior to April 14, although a slightly bowed leg made the toddler clumsy. She often fell and bumped into things so bruises were common.

 She and Mr. Stewart had taught Brandy how to go up and down the stairs by herself. The little girl would come down on her bum, leaning against the wall or holding the rail which they'd had installed for her, Ms Bowman said.

 The Crown was expected to continue calling evidence Tuesday morning. Crown attorney Herman Felderhof said he could have as many as 20 more witnesses, including a number of experts. A physician from the South Shore Regional Hospital, the pediatrician who heads up the IWK's child protection team and a pathologist from the provincial medical examiner's office testified at the preliminary hearing back in January.

 Three weeks have been set aside for the trial. The charge of second-degree murder indicates police believe the act was not premeditated. However, if convicted, Mr. Stewart could face life in prison.


Besani

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 07:19:38 AM »
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Crown witnesses reject defence claim that Brandy Bowman fell down stairs

Lisa Brown

 COUNTY - Brandy Bowman never had a chance of surviving what experts are convinced were inflicted injuries.

 That was the picture that emerged in a Bridgewater courtroom last week as doctors testified about the two year old's case.

 From the time the toddler arrived at the South Shore Regional Hospital late on the evening of April 14, 2001, already comatose, through her final three days at the IWK in Halifax, the little girl's condition continued to deteriorate.

Continued from Page 1

 Doctors knew from their initial examinations that there was little hope. Brandy suffered serious brain injuries from what the experts said could only have been being shaken.

 Coupled with that, an artery in her neck was compressed, blocking blood flow to her brain and causing a stroke. It was ultimately the trauma from the stroke that caused her brain to die and her short life to end.

 Twenty-three-year-old Peter Edward Stewart is on trial for second-degree murder because of the experts' conclusions. He was alone with Brandy for less than half an hour on the evening she was hurt after his girlfriend, Brandy's mother Deeonne Bowman, left their Pleasant River home to go to work.

 Mr. Stewart has claimed from the outset that the toddler fell down the stairs of the two-storey house. Yet the professionals they encountered suspected and still believe otherwise.

 The first were a pair of paramedics who met Mr. Stewart and his father in Wileville as they rushed Brandy to the hospital. The paramedic who worked on the little girl said Mr. Stewart sat in the back of the ambulance rubbing the toddler's leg and coaxing her to wake up.

 Although she said he was "frantic" and acted "like a worried parent," when she saw the bruises and marks on Brandy's body, she worried that the little girl might be an abused child.

 The toddler was struggling to breathe on her own and there were signs of a serious head injury.

 Two emergency room nurses and the physician on call at South Shore Regional testified that they had similar suspicions as they worked on the unresponsive little girl and saw her bruises.

 Some of those bruises were old, including a human bite mark on her upper arm and bruises on her hip-bones. A line of broken blood vessels across the front of her neck was recent and consistent with a constriction around her throat.

 Of more concern to them were signs associated with a serious brain injury. Yet they found no indications that Brandy had struck her head, no cut or swelling on her scalp.

 Nurse Jill Kelly said she wasn't sure if anyone said the words shaken baby syndrome as they worked on Brandy, "but looks were exchanged."

 They intubated the little girl to ensure that she continued to breathe and decided to immediately transfer her to the IWK. Dr. Chris Naugler travelled with her in the ambulance.

 Crown attorney Herman Felderhof called three specialists from the Halifax children's hospital last week.

 Neuroradiologist Dr. Michael Riding was called in late on April 14 to oversee CAT scans of the toddler. He found massive swelling in the right side of Brandy's brain which he determined was the result of a stroke caused by an occlusion of the carotid artery in that side of her neck.

 He testified that it was probably caused by force, such as a finger or a thumb pressing on it for 90 seconds or more. The swelling was so severe it had caused the brain to shift within her head.

 There was also bleeding between the brain and skull, and signs of damage to the front part of the left side of her brain, which Dr. Riding said added "catastrophe to catastrophe."

 But there was no cut or swelling on the skull and no skull fracture, injuries typically seen with fall cases. However, Dr. Riding discovered blood between the two halves of Brandy's brain, damage the 62-year-old neuroradiologist said he's never seen with a fall, but is "very typical, almost isolated" to shaken baby syndrome.

 Dr. Riding said the prognosis was "very gloomy" even then and continued to worsen as he interpreted further scans over the next few days. The swelling increased and by April 17 part of the lower brain was squeezed from the child's skull. Brandy's prognosis went down to "zero."

 Neurosurgeon Dr. David Clarke testified he first went to the IWK to see Brandy on the morning of April 15. After assessing the toddler and her CAT scans, many of his conclusions mirrored what Dr. Riding said regarding the stroke and resulting severe brain injury.

 He also found signs of shaken baby syndrome, including bleeding between the two halves of Brandy's brain, retinal hemorrhages and an absence of trauma to the scalp and skull.

 "I suspected that this was likely a fatal injury," Dr. Clarke testified. "There was nothing there that we could operate on to improve her situation."

 Brandy's condition continued to deteriorate over the next two days. On April 17, he said, her brain ceased functioning.

 It was that afternoon that the little girl's parents gave the hospital permission to turn off the life supports that were keeping her alive. She died around 3 p.m.

 "There are features of this death which cannot be explained by any fall down stairs," Dr. Clarke testified.

 The Maritimes' leading expert in child abuse, the medical director of the IWK's child protection team, also testified for the Crown. By the time Dr. Kathryn Morrison examined Brandy on the morning of April 16, the little girl was breathing with a ventilator, she had a monitor in her head checking the pressure in her brain and she was hooked up to an assortment of other monitors, lines and tubes.

 Dr. Morrison, too, concluded that the toddler had been abused. She saw the old bruises and the bite mark, the broken blood vessels on her neck, the results from the CAT scans and the notes of an opthamologist. Of the four indicators associated with shaken baby syndrome, three were present in Brandy - internal head injuries, a specific type of bleeding behind the eyes and the absence of external injuries. The only factor missing, Dr. Morrison testified, was broken bones which are present in between 50 and 75 per cent of cases.

 "It's quite possible that she was shaken while being held by the neck," Dr. Morrison concluded.

 That view was not confirmed by the pathologist who performed the autopsy. In testifying Monday, Dr. Joanne Murphy agreed that the cause of Brandy's injuries was shaken baby syndrome. However, the autopsy revealed no damage to the child's neck.

 Although that would have been helpful in determining what caused Brandy's injuries, the pathologist said the lack of damage didn't rule out the possibility. However, she concluded the massive brain swelling could have been caused by the shaking itself. Either way, she said, "the manner of death was homicide."

 On Tuesday, the Crown planned to call the neuropathologist who studied Brandy's brain, followed on Wednesday by an opthamologist to testify about her retinal hemorrhages. Defence lawyer Don Murray indicated he'll probably need two days to present his case, so final arguments will be heard next week.

 Throughout the Crown's case so far, there have been glimpses of the pending defence. Mr. Murray has repeatedly questioned the experts about the possibility of a fall.

 He showed two of the doctors a report which has yet to be admitted as an exhibit. Indications are that it focuses on the biomechanics of a fall down stairs, considering whether it could mock the acceleration and deceleration pattern of shaken baby syndrome.

 Mr. Murray also questioned the neuroradiologist at length about whether the compression of the artery could have happened if Brandy landed with her neck across the outside edge of one of the stairs.

 Dr. Riding said that was "highly unlikely." He also doesn't believe a fall would cause the bleeding between the two halves of the brain.

 Mr. Murray questioned an RCMP corporal who took photographs at Mr. Stewart's home on April 15 about plastic Easter eggs found on the stairs. Brandy's mother testified on Day 1 of the trial that she and Mr. Stewart placed eggs filled with candy around the house before she left for work, so Brandy could find them the next morning, which was Easter.

 The police photographed two of those eggs open on the stairway, one at the bottom and another about eight steps up. They found no evidence of a child's fingerprints on the eggs, but the officer said he could not say if someone had stepped or landed on them.

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 07:22:17 AM »
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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 07:23:55 AM »
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Judge reserves decision in Peter Stewart murder trial until December 20

Lisa Brown

 COUNTY - A judge must now decide if Peter Stewart found his girlfriend's injured toddler after she fell down stairs or if instead he lost his temper and violently shook the little girl causing the brain injuries that ultimately killed her.

 Mr. Stewart's Supreme Court trial wrapped up November 13 after more than two weeks of testimony. In their closing arguments last Wednesday, Crown and defence lawyers offered very different views of the man at the centre of the case.

 Crown attorney Herman Felderhof claimed Mr. Stewart was simply using two-year-old Brandy Bowman to impress her mother and concocted a story after he injured her in an effort to cover his tracks. Defence lawyer Don Murray asserted that his 23-year-old client loved the toddler like a surrogate father and did all he could to try to save her after a terrible household accident.

 "Peter Stewart did not kill the child that his heart had adopted," Mr. Murray said.

 "Her fatal injuries were caused by her fall down the stairs. Peter Stewart has told you he didn't shake Brandy Bowman. That doesn't fit his character," he continued.

 Mr. Stewart was alone with Brandy at his Pleasant River home on the evening of April 14, 2001. Shortly before 9:30 p.m. - less than half an hour after the child's mother, Deeonne Bowman, left for work - he telephoned his father, getting the older man's girlfriend, telling them to come quickly because Brandy had been hurt.

 They rushed to meet an ambulance which took the toddler to South Shore Regional Hospital. Within an hour, she was transferred to the IWK Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, but never awoke from the coma caused by severe injuries to her brain. Brandy died at the IWK on April 17.

 A string of experts concluded the little girl had been shaken, opinions that never wavered when they testified at Mr. Stewart's trial.

 Brandy suffered massive swelling within her brain, as well as bleeding between the brain and skull, between the two halves of her brain and in the retinas of her eyes.

 The experts were slightly inconsistent about the specifics of the injuries, some feeling they began when an artery in her neck was compressed by a hand and others believing the swelling started with a brief respiratory arrest. All said the injuries were a typical result of being shaken.

 Mr. Murray argued the doctors diagnosed shaken baby syndrome in part because of an absence of external head injuries. However, Mr. Stewart and his father's girlfriend at the time felt a bump on the back of Brandy's head as they rushed her towards the hospital.

 The woman testified she never liked Mr. Stewart and has since ended her relationship with his father, so Mr. Murray argued she had no reason to lie to the court.

 To further that, the defence lawyer pointed to photos of Brandy taken at the hospital. The toddler always had a birthmark on the back of her head so doctors discounted the redness, but Deeonne Bowman testified that the discolouration looked to be two or three times larger than usual.

 Mr. Murray also argued that other bruises on Brandy's elbows and buttocks and a scrape on her shoulder supported the defence position that she tumbled backwards down the stairs. A kinesiologist who testified for the defence last week said it was likely Brandy missed her footing, twisting and rolling backwards two or three times before she came to rest against a door at the bottom of the stairs where Mr. Stewart said he found her.

 The defence lawyer further contended that the medical experts all said Brandy's injuries were "consistent with" or "looked like" shaken baby syndrome, stressing that his client shouldn't be convicted because medical science hasn't documented similar injuries from a fall.

 "All we have is doctors saying they have never seen it or they are not satisfied that they have seen it or read about it," Mr. Murray said.

 Mr. Murray argued that the medical professionals concluded that Brandy was abused from the time they saw bruises, in particular a bite mark, on her body. They never opened their minds to any other alternative, he claimed, calling it "bad medicine."

 But the Crown attorney said the medical experts who testified are "at the pinnacle of their careers.

 "There's no bootstrapping here," Mr. Felderhof said. "These are professional specialists. They consider all of the evidence before them, all of it."

 And despite intense cross-examination, the Crown stressed that they never changed their minds.

 "They stood by their diagnoses and their opinions," Mr. Felderhof said.

 Calling Mr. Stewart's claim of loving Brandy an affront to the child's real parents, he said the story that she fell down the stairs is a "pathetic attempt to try to explain the massive injuries to this little girl's head."

 The Crown's explanation of the events of April 14, 2001, begins with Brandy getting out of bed. As she was supposed to do the next morning, Mr. Felderhof said, the toddler found two of the plastic Easter eggs filled with candy on the stairs. She ate most of the candy from one egg and continued down until she reached for an egg at the bottom of the stairs and bumped against the door.

 That was the noise, the Crown says, which alerted Mr. Stewart that Brandy was awake. Angry that the little girl wouldn't sleep, Mr. Felderhof said Mr. Stewart "went ballistic."

 As he did when he bit the toddler back a week or two earlier, the Crown attorney said Mr. Stewart went too far trying to make Brandy behave.

 "He grabs Brandy by the clothing and he shakes her," Mr. Felderhof said. "He went too far, once again, in teaching her a lesson."

 Realizing he'd hurt the child, the Crown said Mr. Stewart came up with the excuse about a fall hoping to get away with what he'd done.

 "It's very clear that what we have here is shaken baby syndrome," Mr. Felderhof said. "That's what the doctors say. That's what the pathologists say."

 Justice Margaret Stewart will hand down her verdict in the case on December 20.

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 07:30:06 AM »
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COUNTY - It will be another year before a former Lunenburg County man charged with the second-degree murder of his girlfriend's toddler goes on trial.

 Twenty-two-year-old Peter Edward Stewart was back in a Liverpool courtroom February 27. He'd been committed to stand trial following a preliminary hearing in January and appeared before the Supreme Court to get a trial date.

 Three weeks were set aside for the case, beginning March 3, 2003.

 Mr. Stewart was charged with a single count of second-degree murder in April of last year following the death of two-year-old Brandy Bowman.

 The little girl and her mother Deeonne Bowman had moved from Bridgewater to Mr. Stewart's home in Pleasant River only a few weeks before the child was rushed to hospital on April 14.

 Reports at the time indicated Mr. Stewart was at home with Brandy that evening while Ms Bowman was at work. He called his father for help, saying the toddler had fallen down a flight of stairs in the two-storey home.

 Brandy was taken to the South Shore Regional Hospital, then transferred to the IWK in Halifax. She died there three days later.

 The RCMP released results of an autopsy concluding the little girl died from injuries consistent with a combination of shaken baby syndrome and asphyxia due to strangulation.

 Mr. Stewart remains free on bail pending trial. He is prohibited from having contact with Ms Bowman, Brandy's father and anyone with a criminal record. He cannot accompany children under the age of seven unless another adult is present, and he cannot consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs. He must report weekly to the RCMP and live with his uncle in Colpton.

 The charge of second-degree murder indicates investigators believe the act was not premeditated. However, if convicted, Mr. Stewart still faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

 The trial next March will be held in Bridgewater.


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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 07:33:09 AM »
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Toddler's relatives cheer as sheriff's deputies take him away

Lisa Brown

 LIVERPOOL - Relatives of Brandy Bowman jeered at the man convicted of killing the toddler as he left the Liverpool courthouse last week to begin serving his four-and-a-half-year sentence for manslaughter.

 Peter Edward Stewart showed little emotion as sheriff's deputies escorted him to the waiting van amid shouts of "Bye, baby-killer" and "Have fun." One woman spat at him. Two then made obscene gestures as the van pulled away.

 Ellie Papineau, second cousin to the little girl, said it's been a traumatic two years since Brandy's death.

 "I'm glad it's over and I know from this experience I will never allow anybody to hurt my child," Ms Papineau said.

 "He could have been sentenced to 25 years, I would have been happy, but it's not going to bring that baby back to us," she added. "Her mother, for the rest of her life, is going to have to live with the pain of knowing that someone she chose to trust took her baby from her."

 The little girl's mother, Deeonne Bowman, wasn't present at the sentencing. The child's grandmother said the whole process has been too much for her daughter.

 "She would rather be dead. She has no life. To her, there's no purpose," Noel Veinot said. "I hope she survives but I have doubts about how her mental state will ever be."

 As for her own feelings following the sentencing, Ms Veinot said she's still trying to cope with all that has happened.

 "Do we really know what happened to her? As bad as it may be, I would like to hear it from him what transpired and then I can deal with it," she said. "If Peter had owned up to what he had done, I would have felt a lot better."

 The 26-month-old toddler suffered fatal injuries in Mr. Stewart's home in Pleasant River, Queens County, on the evening of April 14, 2001.

 Mr. Stewart, 23, has always maintained that she fell down a flight of stairs. At his trial last November, he testified he found her lying face down on the bottom step after hearing noises from the living room.

 However, a series of expert witnesses for the Crown disagreed. Specialists and pathologists from the IWK Hospital in Halifax testified that Brandy's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

 Supreme Court Justice Margaret Stewart agreed with their conclusions, finding that Mr. Stewart was an inexperienced care giver who reacted instantly when the little girl "interrupted his quiet time."

 The child and her mother had only been living with him for a few weeks. Ms Bowman was at work when the toddler was hurt.

 Brandy suffered massive swelling and bleeding in and around her brain before being taken off life-supports at the IWK three days after she was injured.

 In court last week, the little girl's paternal grandmother wept as she read a victim impact statement, speaking of the first day of school, graduation and wedding the family will never see.

 "These are things that have been taken away from us," Wanda Lohnes told Mr. Stewart. "One day, you will look in the mirror and see the terrible person I see before me."

 Crown attorney Herman Felderhof argued for a prison term of six to eight years, calling the crime repugnant. Defence lawyer Don Murray agreed the case warranted federal time, but suggested 30 months, arguing that it's impossible to equate any sentence with the value of Brandy's life.

 "Her life and Peter Stewart's sentence aren't on the same yardstick," Mr. Murray said.

 After taking time to consider her decision, Justice Stewart agreed with his assessment but not with the length of time he proposed.

 "Nothing I say or do today will change the past events," Justice Stewart said. "No sentence of whatever length can breathe life into Brandy."

 Mr. Stewart simply nodded as she handed down the four-and-a-half-year prison term. His lawyer said a few minutes later the length of the sentence was not unexpected and they won't appeal it.

 "It's a fair sentence," Mr. Murray said.

 Having already filed an appeal of the conviction, Mr. Murray said he'll ask the Court of Appeal to set a hearing date very soon. He's considering making a bail application pending that hearing.

 "That's something Peter and I will discuss again in a little more detail in a few more days," the defence lawyer said.

 Mr. Felderhof had little comment following the sentencing, saying only, "Justice has been served."


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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 07:36:33 AM »
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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 07:40:37 AM »
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Besani

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 07:43:30 AM »
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COUNTY - The Pleasant River man convicted of shaking his girlfriend's toddler to death in April 2001 was released from prison last week after serving a third of his four-and-a-half year sentence.

 The National Parole Board granted full parole to Peter Edward Stewart October 25, allowing him to serve the remainder of his time in the community. The only stipulation is that Mr. Stewart notify his parole officer of any relationships with women involving children.

 In March 2003, Mr. Stewart was sentenced for manslaughter in the death of two-year-old Brandy Bowman. The little girl died at the IWK in Halifax on April 17, 2001, as a result of injuries sustained in Mr. Stewart's home three days earlier.

 Mr. Stewart and the child's mother, Deeonne Bowman, had been living together for only six weeks when the toddler was injured. He was home alone with the little girl at the time and claimed she fell down a flight of stairs. However, a string of medical experts called by the Crown testified that the girl's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

 Following a three-week trial, Supreme Court Justice Margaret Stewart found the then 23 year old not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of the included offence of manslaughter. She concluded that he snapped and shook the little girl.

 Mr. Stewart appealed his conviction, but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld the judge's decision in December.

 In their October 25 decision, the parole board concluded the incident was "out of character" for Mr. Stewart. While they expressed concern that he continues to deny shaking the toddler, they said he showed progress in therapy while in prison. A recent assessment rated Mr. Stewart at a low risk to violently reoffend.

 The board's one reservation was the 25 year old's ability to cope with children.

 "The access you might have to children goes to the heart of the risk you pose to the community," the decision by board members P.J. Connelly and Pat O'Brien reads.

 "You have demonstrated certain parenting deficits and the board believes that the death of the child has had an impact on you personally that has yet to be reconciled."

Besani

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 08:05:02 AM »
I worked with Brandys mother for a few year and between the news articles, and the things that she has told me herself, quite a few things dont add up. I wont comment on the things that she told me because it will just bring her unwanted attention but I can honestly say that I think it was all a set up to cover up what really happened to Brandy before Deeonne Bowman left for work that night.

After Brandys death, she was cremated. Both parents were given half of her ashes. Ms. Bowman keeps her half close to heart in a keep-sake box. Aaron Lohnes, Brandys father, had a funeral for Brandy and she is burried in a beautiful cemetary over-looking the Lahave River in Bridgewater.

Rest in Peace little Angel!

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2012, 02:52:20 PM »
Besani I am sorry but I am thinking you should speak up, if something happened to this little girl before her mother went to work, perhaps it is possible an innocent man is in Jail?  What do you think?  Regardless of what it is you should speak up.

Besani

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2012, 06:10:05 PM »
He is no longer in jail. And I don't want to stir things up because she would know who told. I'm not about to put myself in danger.

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Re: Brandy Bowman |2| Bridgewater - April 17, 2001
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2012, 07:10:23 PM »
If she talked to you or around you about it she likely shot her mouth off to others as well so she wouldnt be sure.  But this is a child DEAD  no one should keep quiet JMO.