LAURENS, SC (WSPA) – A Laurens man was sentenced to life in prison for the 2003 murder of James Bolt, according to Solicitor David Stumbo.
Arthur Jason Bowers, 32, was convicted Thursday of murder, criminal conspiracy and armed robbery. The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for just under three hours, according to Stumbo.
Circuit Judge Donald Hocker sentenced Bowers to 5 years on criminal conspiracy, 30 years on armed robbery and 50 years on the murder charge, calling the crime “gruesome and heinous.”
On Sept. 26, 2003 76-year-old James Bolt, a Korean War Veteran was brutally beaten to death with a hammer at the Laurens Co. VFW building, according to the solicitor.
Investigators arrested Bowers in 2003. He was 17 years old at the time and charges were eventually dismissed by then-Solicitor Jerry Pace, according to Stumbo.
Charges were filed again in 2015 after Doyle Wayne Roberts, was arrested on an unrelated matter and told police his mother, Brenda Roberts, 65, had washed Bower’s and another person’s clothes after the murder.
Brenda Roberts was found guilt of accessory after the fact to murder and sentenced to 14 years after the jury deliberated for just one hour, according to the news release.
Stumbo says Circuit Judge Frank Addy sent a message to Roberts by sentencing her to one year in prison for every year justice for Bolt had been denied.
Stumbo says Roberts washed the blood-stained clothes of the killers.
“The heinous and brutal killing of Mr. James Bolt, a well-respected man, rocked the Laurens community in 2003, and a piece of our innocence was taken,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “While we can never get that piece of innocence back, we can and will pursue those like A.J. Bowers who steal it for as long as necessary to bring them to justice. It is my hope and prayer that this day in court will be another major step towards peace and closure for Mr. Bolts entire family.”