Gary Ray Bowles is a serial killer from Florida set to be executed August 22, 2019. He was sentenced for killing 6 men. He was raised in Rupert, West Virginia. His father was a coal miner and died of Black Lung Disease. His mother remarried several times. Bowles was violently abused by his second stepfather who was a violent alcoholic. At the age of 13, he fought back and severely injured his stepfather. He then moved out of the house and was homeless. He made some money by working as a prostitute.
In 1994, he killed his first victim, John Hardy Roberts who offered him a temporary place to live. He beat and strangled him then stole his credit card. Over the next 6 months, he killed 4 additional men. In 1995, he was apprehended for the brutal murder of Walter Jamelle "Jay" Hinton and he confessed to all 6 murders. Bowles hit Hinton's head with a 40-pound steppingstone while Hinton was sleeping and stuffed a towel down his throat during the struggle. Bowles received the death penalty for Hinton's murder. While on death row, he confessed to the murder of John Hardy Roberts.
After his arrest for the murders, Bowles told police that following his 1991 release from prison he had moved to Daytona Beach, and moved in with a girlfriend where he resumed working as a prostitute. According to Bowles, his girlfriend became pregnant but then had an abortion after she realized that Bowles was a prostitute. Bowles told police officers that he blamed gay men for the abortion, and this led him to murder people.
“I just wanted to kill as many people as possible before they caught me.”
However in each case, the violence used was far more than needed to simply kill the victims. They were usually robbed, so there's reason to doubt that as a motive. The killer was skillful enough at gaining the trust of potential victims to make their deaths unnecessary. Bowles was careless enough to take victims credit cards and use them in clear view of store security cameras, this is how police were able to narrow him down.
The police identified Bowles as a suspect early on, but he was constantly on the move, so he stayed ahead of them. While on the run, Bowles was put on the FBI's list of the 10 Most Wanted Fugitives for his four known victims. The case was profiled on America's Most Wanted in July of 1994. At that time Bowles was sharing a house with several other people. They called police when they saw his picture on TV and he was finally apprehended.
Bowles pleaded guilty to Hinton’s murder and he was sentenced to death in 1996. The Florida Supreme Court reversed the death sentence in 1999, due to the court’s improper handling of Bowles’ sentencing, but he was again given the death penalty in a re-sentencing hearing that same year. Governor Ron DeSantis signed Bowles death Warrant on June 11th. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection today, August 22, 2019.