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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Former NYPD drug cop Jerry Bowens nabbed in killing of girlfriend

Former NYPD drug cop Jerry Bowens nabbed in killing of girlfriend
The New York Daily News by SAMUEL GOLDMSITH, JOE KEMP AND JONATHAN LEMIRE - March 10, 2009

A dirty ex-NYPD drug cop wanted for fatally shooting his girlfriend and wounding her pal had a loaded gun in his car when he was busted by cops outside a Staten Island precinct early Monday, police said. Jerry Bowens, 43, capped a bizarre night on the run by pulling over in his slain girlfriend's car to call media outlets and ask them to cover his upcoming surrender at the 120th Precinct stationhouse. But before Bowens could turn himself in, cops spotted him at 4 a.m. and arrested him. They discovered a loaded .357 revolver and a semiautomatic rifle in the car. It was not immediately known if Bowens used one of those weapons to put a bullet into the head of 28-year-old Catherine Donofrio on Sunday afternoon, cops said. "I lost a child," said the dead woman's grieving father, John Donofrio. "There are no words for that." The motive for the shooting remains unknown, but investigators do not believe the killing was connected to Bowens' indictment last year on charges of stealing crack from drug suspects to give to informants, police sources said. Bowens, a 13-year veteran of the NYPD who resigned from the force last month, had called Donofrio - described as his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend - Sunday and asked her for a ride because his car broke down, police said.

At 4 p.m., Donofrio drove herself and Bowens to the plush Greenpoint home of Melissa Simmons and they asked her friend if they could use the bathroom, police said. Minutes later, Bowens pulled Donofrio into the bathroom and shot her in the head. He then fired a pair of shots at Simmons but only grazed her head and arm. Bowens fled in Donofrio's Toyota Camry, making a quick stop at the Bensonhurst apartment building where the dead woman lived along with her legally blind parents and her elderly grandmother, police said. "This is such a tragedy," said neighbor Suzy Ryan. "She was very sweet and caring. She lived for her family." Donofrio, a law clerk who earned a pair of degrees from John Jay College, had once let Bowens live with her at the 70th St. building. But it was not clear why the ex-cop stopped there after the shooting. He did not speak to anyone in her family, police believe. Bowens next checked into a Jersey City motel, but his nervous behavior alarmed a bellhop, police said. Sensing that the motel employee had grown suspicious, Bowens abruptly checked out and drove to Staten Island to negotiate his surrender.

Cops said that Bowens had a pair of lesions on his arm consistent with a bullet's entry and exit wounds, but it was not clear if he had shot himself, police said. He was taken to Kings County Hospital for treatment and a psychiatric evaluation. He was expected to be arraigned on murder charges Tuesday. Bowens secretly pleaded guilty to the drug charges last month and had agreed to cooperate against four other narcotics officers implicated in the Brooklyn South corruption case. The lawyer for one of the other cops suggested that the pressure of the investigation may have led to the shooting. "The fact was that he was going to falsely testify against another officer," said Andrew Quinn, the lawyer for Sgt. Michael Arenella. "That could have been a factor in this." Bowens' own lawyer, Edward Mandery, said he was "saddened" by the tragic news but could not elaborate on his client's mind-set or health.With Scott Shifrel

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