Public Safety

Cody Brown told police his girlfriend's injury was 'freak accident'

In video, he describes escalating argument that led to her death in 2018

Cody Brown
Cody Brown
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cody Brown asked police “Is this like murder or what’s going on?” when questioned about how his girlfriend, Stephanie Bowling, ended up lying unconscious on the concrete walkway outside her apartment June 28, 2018.

Brown, in a body camera recording, told police he and Bowling had been arguing but insisted it was a “freak accident.”

He said Bowling, 24, “came after me and I flipped her. If she is dead, my life is f*****,” he told police.

Brown, calm and nervous at times in the recording, said Bowling came at him “full force,” and he threw her “this way” — making a motion with arms over his right shoulder.

Bowling landed on the concrete, but Brown said he was trying to “defuse” the situation.

Brown, 27, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal assault of Bowling, who died June 30, 2018, of traumatic brain injury.

His trial started Tuesday and will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Linn County District Court. One of Brown’s lawyers had a personal matter to deal with on Monday, delaying the trial one day.

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On Friday, a video recording of Brown’s interview with police also was played for jurors, providing details of what happened before the 2:53 a.m. call to Bowling’s apartment at 795 Bentley Dr., Marion.

According to testimony, first-responders performed CPR and lifesaving efforts on Bowling, who was found unresponsive on her living room floor.

Police interview

In Brown’s interview with investigators, he said the two had been arguing since the day before, but Bowling seemed to “snap” when he came over after 11 p.m. June 27. Everything was fine at first. They had sex and then were talking in bed when the argument started.

Brown was “straddling” her on the bed when she punched him in the arm about five times, he said. He got mad and punched a door, saying that Bowling was ignoring him.

Brown said he left three times but kept coming back.

Bowling “came at me” and hit him in the chest the second time, and he pushed her away. He admitted he was mad and told officers, “When I get mad, I get really mad.”

The third time Brown came back, he was standing at the apartment threshold and Bowling, “in a full-on sprint,” came at him, he said.

This is when he threw her over his shoulder, and she landed up on the concrete walkway, he said in the interview.

Investigators asked Brown to tell them what happened more than once, with Brown adding more to the chain of events.

Brown said initially, he didn’t think Bowling was badly hurt. She seemed “fine” to him. She was lying on the ground and moving around, looking “pissed,” he said.

“I said, ‘Are you done yet?’ ” Brown told investigators.

She didn’t respond, and he walked away but then came back when Bowling didn’t get up.

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Brown said Bowling was foaming at the mouth. He decided to park his truck across the parking lot. He said he thought maybe Bowling was just “knocked out” because he heard “snoring.”

He then dragged her body, which wasn’t easy because Bowling is a “big girl,” face down, inside the apartment and called 911, Brown said during the interview.

Bowling died two days later, on June 30, from blunt force trauma to the head.

Brown, in the interview, never could tell investigators what the argument was about. He said there wasn’t an “actual issue.”

‘Overanalyzing’

Marion police investigator Nick Martens testified that phone records showed 161 calls between Brown and Bowling from April 10 through June 28, the course of their relationship. Brown made 145 or 146 of those to Bowling; Bowling made 11 to Brown.

Brown made about 34 calls, one after the other, to Bowling from 1:55 to 2:33 a.m. June 28.

In many of the texts between the two, Martens said, Brown was obsessing about or “overanalyzing” small things Bowling said in her messages.

Brown, in a text, mentioned the night before when the argument started and he “rolled her over” and she hit him. He said if it had been anyone else, he would be “gone.”

Brown then told her he couldn’t wait to see her and wanted to be with her forever. He questioned why she didn’t tell him the same.

Bowling, more than once, asked him to “stop,” that he was “annoying” her.

Brown then asked Bowling why she was mad, and Bowling told him to “let it go or “to move on,” that he was “overanalyzing” a text.

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Brown left Bowling a voicemail at 2:25 a.m., saying, “If you want to continue this relationship, call me back.”

The phone records also showed the texts Bowling sent that day to her friend, Malyssa Cooper of Anamosa, who previously testified she had received “frantic” texts from Bowling about Brown.

• Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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