RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN - A man convicted of raping and killing a 22-year-old woman in Murfreesboro 8-years ago filed for post-conviction relief and lost. The subject later filed an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals and eventually the Tennessee Supreme Court with the petitioner's most recent request for appeal being denied this past Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
22-Year-old Heather Nicole Maples, the victim in the murder, moved to Murfreesboro from Texas just 6 months and 1 week before she was killed by Brandon Richmond Bowling, who was arrested 8-days after her death. Bowling was charged in a twelve-count indictment that included six counts of rape, two counts sexual battery, two counts of aggravated rape, one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree premeditated murder.
Just before trial in 2018, Bowling filed a motion to suppress video evidence that was found on his phone. Representing Bowling in an appeal was Attorney William D. Massey, who told the courts... That motion was never disputed before the courts and Bowling plead guilty to one count of aggravated rape and one count of second degree murder, in exchange for the dismissal of all remaining charges. While the State initially aimed to seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole, 30-year-old Bowling received an effective sentence of 40-years behind bars, to be served at 100%. Rutherford County Circuit Court Judge David Bragg presided over the conviction.
The 22-year-old victim was located by a friend who checked on her when she failed to report to work. According to Murfreesboro Police, Maples lived at The Cove Apartments, which was also her employer. Detective Sergeant Tommy Massey with the Murfreesboro Police Department investigated and filed the murder charges against Bowling on August 15, 2015.
One year after Bowling was convicted and sentenced, he filed for post conviction relief. The post conviction case that began in 2019 took about two years to complete because it was filed at the start of the COVID Pandemic. The case eventually came to a close in 2022 with Judge James Turner denying post conviction relief.
After the post-conviction relief was denied, Bowling filed an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals. Bowling said his trial counsel failed to advise him that a search warrant justifying the search of his cellphone was constitutionally defective. Attorney Massey said... The Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee agreed with the previous denial of post conviction relief, citing the the petitioner failed to satisfy the burden to establish he was entitled to post conviction relief.
On June 7th of last week, the Tennessee Supreme Court took action on Bowling's appeal, denying his application from moving forward. Previously, his appeal was denied in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Bowling will be 59 when his sentence ends on July 19, 2052. Once released, he will remain on the Sex Offender Registry for life.