Ulisa Chavers pleaded guilty of first degree murder.
Ulisa Chavers pleaded guilty to first degree murder in Louisa County Circuit Court Wednesday, but she still maintains that she did not kill her boyfriend. Chavers entered an Alford plea to first degree murder.
The plea means Chavers knows there is enough evidence to convict her, even though she maintains that she is innocent. In March of 2009, the body of Chavers' boyfriend, Reginal "Cody" Bowles, was found in well behind the Louisa County house they shared.
Bowles' children were in court Wednesday when Chavers was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with 20 years suspended. They say the sentence was a bittersweet victory in a long and difficult process.
"I love my father," said Lee Bowles, son of Reginal "Cody" Bowles. "I can't bring him back, but this helps to serve him justice."
The Commonwealth's Attorney believes Chavers poisoned Bowles, even though Chavers holds tight to the claim that she is innocent.
"The end goal is always to do justice," said Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett. "And then the question becomes, 'What's justice?' What we decided was that if our theory of the case bore out, than justice would be that the sun would never shine on the face of Ulisa Chavers as a free woman ever again. And I think we got there."
"This is a good example to the public that your tax dollars are going to good use," said Senior Special Agent Carlton Johnson of Virginia State Police. "This is the best example that I think of where local, state and federal law enforcement agencies came together and worked in unison to bring a positive outcome to this investigation and to bring justice to this family and to Cody Bowles."
Chavers is already serving time for charges of embezzlement and concealing a body. Currently, she is facing an active sentence of 45 years in all.
Chavers is due in Amelia Circuit Court on January 6 for the murder of her second husband, Clent Chavers.
Reginald Bowles' body found in a well on his property in March 2009 over two years after last seen alive
Louisa – Today, Tom Garrett, Commonwealth's Attorney, announced that Ulisa M. Chavers, 62, of Louisa waived a scheduled jury trial and plead guilty to first degree murder. Chavers previously entered guilty pleas to fourteen felony charges to include disposing of a human body, credit card fraud, identity theft, possession of a sawed off rifle and ten counts of theft.
Mr. Bowles' children last saw him alive on Christmas 2006 when he told a son he no longer wanted Chavers as his power of attorney. Bowles' children, who said their father never missed a birthday or major holiday, never saw or heard from him again. After almost two years of lies from her about Bowles whereabouts, his family asked the Louisa County Sheriff's Office to investigate. Detective Howard Porter interviewed Chavers on a number of occasions. She indicated he was in Montana riding with a motorcycle gang. When she provided an altered photo attempting to persuade Porter that Bowles was still alive and spent Christmas at home, Porter obtained a search warrant for Mr. Bowles' property.
Porter asked the Virginia State Police and the Loudoun County Sheriff's office to assist in the search for Bowles remains. While executing the search warrant, a cadaver dog alerted on an abandoned well on the property. Chief Deputy Sheriff Donnie Lowe recovered the body from the 25' deep well. State Police Senior Special Agent Carlton Johnson informed Chavers that the body was located in the well she changed her story, saying Bowles died of natural causes after his "pacemaker was going bonkers all night." Medtronics, a company that made Mr. Bowles' pacemaker, examined the item and found no evidence of Chavers' version of his death. The autopsy showed that the defendant's liver possessed a 8.5 mg/Kg of benztropine. That is four times the lethal level in a well preserved liver. While the Medical Examiner's office was unable to determine cause of death, death by poisoning could not be ruled out. Benztropine is a drug prescribed for Parkinson disease and Schizophrenia. Nobody at the Bowles' residence was prescribed Benzotropine.
Through out the course of the case, the Sheriff's office and the Commonwealth's Attorney's office have continued to develop the facts. Bowles' health insurance company provided the final key piece of evidence, which helped lead to a guilty plea. Their detailed records showed that Chavers called them on December 18, 2006 stating Bowles no longer wanted health insurance and wanted the policy to expire on December 31, 2006. Chavers followed up the phone call with a letter stating the same thing. Bowles was last seen alive by his family on Christmas of that year. This evidence proved that Chavers was preparing to kill Bowles prior to his death, a fact which made it easier for the prosecution to prove first degree murder.
On speaking on the conviction Garrett said "justice was served for Reginald Bowles in Louisa County today as Ulisa Chavers will spend the rest of her life in prison." Garrett also thanked the Louisa County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, Social Security Administrations Inspector General's Office, Virginia's Department of Forensic Science and the numerous private companies for their assistance in bringing justice for Mr. Bowles. Garrett also credited chief deputy Commonwealth's attorney, Rusty McGuire, for his role in the prosecution of this case.
Chavers has now been sentenced to a total active sentence of 45 years and total sentence of 98 years. Chavers still faces similar charged in the death of her husband, Clent Chavers, and is due in the Amelia Circuit Court on January 6, 2011 for those charges.