The case of Kevin Dowling in Pennsylvania has taken a dramatic turn, raising questions about the integrity of the criminal justice system. After spending over 23 years on death row for the murder of Jennifer Myers, Kevin Dowling has been granted a new trial by a Pennsylvania trial court.

This article explores the details of his case, the evidence that led to his conviction, and the recent developments that have given him hope for a new chance at justice.

The Evidence Against Kevin Dowling

Jennifer Myers, a respected art gallery owner in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, met a tragic end on October 20, 1997, when she was brutally murdered inside her gallery. The prosecution’s case against Kevin Dowling hinged primarily on the testimony of a single eyewitness, Sandra Sue Eller.

Eller claimed to have seen Dowling near the murder scene at around 11:20 or 11:30 that morning. Her testimony was crucial, as it was the only evidence connecting Dowling to the crime.

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However, a critical discrepancy emerged. The prosecution’s own evidence, presented during post-conviction proceedings, showed that Dowling was more than 40 miles away at Muddy Run Lake at 10:50 a.m. on the day of the murder.

Clarence Hess, a rental boat proprietor at the lake, testified that Dowling had been on a boat for 30 to 45 minutes starting around 10:20 a.m. Given the distance and time required to travel from the lake to the crime scene, it was impossible for Dowling to have been present at the time Eller claimed to have seen him.

The Fabricated Timeline

Did a Pennsylvania State Trooper Really Fabricate Evidence in Kevin Dowling's Case?
Did a Pennsylvania State Trooper Really Fabricate Evidence in Kevin Dowling’s Case?
Image Credit: WGAL

State Trooper William Mowrey played a pivotal role in the prosecution’s case by providing testimony to support the idea that the time stamps on the cash registers at Kennie’s Market, where Eller had made a purchase, were inaccurate.

Mowrey’s testimony created a timeline in which Eller’s account could be plausible. However, this timeline was based on false information.

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In a significant revelation, the prosecution later conceded that Mowrey’s testimony was false. Expert reports, credit card records, and other register receipts demonstrated that the time stamps on register 6, used by Eller, were accurate.

This evidence refuted the prosecution’s case and showed that Eller’s eyewitness identification was mistaken.

Ineffective Counsel

Judge Robert J. Eby, who presided over Dowling’s case, found that Dowling’s trial counsel had failed to request readily available exculpatory evidence, such as the register receipts, which would have provided objective proof of Dowling’s innocence.

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Additionally, Eby determined that counsel had not effectively challenged Trooper Mowrey’s baseless testimony. As a result, Eby concluded that Dowling had not received effective assistance of counsel during his trial.

The Path to a New Trial

The court’s ruling to grant Kevin Dowling a new trial was a significant step toward justice. The prosecution’s failure to disclose crucial evidence and the flawed timeline presented during the original trial raised serious doubts about Dowling’s guilt.

With the opportunity for a fresh trial, Dowling now has a chance to prove his innocence and seek justice for the decades he spent on death row.

Details In Short:

  • Date of Kevin Dowling’s conviction: 1998
  • Date of the ruling for a new trial: February 22, 2022
  • Location of the murder: Gray Fox Gallery in Spring Forge Plaza, Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
  • Victim’s name: Jennifer Myers
  • Time of the murder: Approximately 1 p.m. on October 20, 1997
  • Eyewitness testimony by Sandra Sue Eller: She claimed to have seen Dowling at 11:20 or 11:30 that morning.
  • Kevin Dowling’s alibi: He was allegedly at Muddy Run Lake, more than 40 miles away, at 10:50 a.m. on the same day.
  • Trooper William Mowrey’s testimony: He fabricated a timeline suggesting inaccuracies in the timestamps on cash registers at Kennie’s Market.
  • Evidence against Trooper Mowrey: Expert reports, credit card records, and register receipts demonstrated the accuracy of the timestamps.
  • Lack of disclosure: The prosecution failed to produce the log of register receipts from Kennie’s Market to the defense.
  • Defense counsel: Kevin Dowling’s trial counsel, Jerry Lord, failed to request critical evidence and challenge Trooper Mowrey’s testimony effectively.
  • Court’s findings: Judge Robert J. Eby found that Dowling did not receive effective assistance of counsel and that the prosecution relied on inaccurate testimony. Eby overturned Dowling’s conviction in light of the new evidence.
  • Kevin Dowling’s current status: He has been released from prison and is awaiting his second trial.


The case of Kevin Dowling in Pennsylvania highlights the importance of a fair and just legal system. The recent decision to grant him a new trial offers hope for a reexamination of the evidence and a potential opportunity for him to clear his name.

As the legal proceedings continue, the world watches to see whether the truth will finally emerge and whether justice will prevail for Kevin Dowling after years of uncertainty and wrongful conviction.

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