District Attorney Joel Smith announced Thursday that after deliberating for approximately an hour, a Harrison County jury found 35 year old, Ira Donnell Bowser, guilty of murder late Wednesday evening for the 2012 stabbing of Shabree Page. Judge Roger Clark sentenced Bowser to a mandatory sentence life in prison as a habitual offender as required by statute.
The murder stemmed from a June 9th, 2012 stabbing that occurred at the victim's home in Pass Christian. Testimony during the two day trial revealed that in the early morning hours of June 9th, 2012, the victim was found by Bowser's niece covered in blood and unresponsive in her bedroom. A hotel clerk testified at trial that a couple of hours after the victim was found, Bowser came into the hotel lobby and told the clerk to call the police because he had just murdered somebody. Members of the Pass Christian Police Department and Gulfport Crime Scene Unit testified at trial that they were able to life fingerprints and DNA from the crime scene, tying Bowser to the crime.
During the final day of trial, Dr. Paul McGarry testified that the victim was stabbed a total of 29 times to the abdomen, arms, chest, back of the neck, and face. One of the knife wounds sliced the victim's carotid artery. The defense argued that this was manslaughter, not murder, because this was caused over a fight and the defendant did not intend for the victim to die. During closing arguments, ADA Crosby Parker pointed out that there could be no other verdict for this vicious and brutal killing other than murder. ADA Parker told the jury "no matter how many times this defendant says he doesn't remember, it won't change the facts that he stabbed 33 year old, Shabree Page, 29 times in the face, shoulders, chest, and back and killed her while she was defenseless in her own bedroom." ADA Parker and Mitch Owen prosecuted the case on behalf of the state.
"This was a senseless murder of a mother in her own home that arose out of domestic violence. I am extremely proud of the citizens in the Pass Christian and Gulfport communities who came forward to testify as witnesses to this crime. They did their part to ensure justice was served for Ms. Page's family," said District Attorney Joel Smith.