Public Safety

Neighbor describes Stephanie Bowling's fatal assault

She saw Cody Brown trying to move girlfriend from outside apartment

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A woman said she heard a noise in the early morning hours of June 28, 2018, and peered out her apartment door’s peephole to see her neighbor on the ground having a “fit or tantrum” and a man standing over her, trying to get her up.

Cathleen Covington, who lived at 795 Bentley Dr. in Marion, testified this happened about 2:45 a.m. when Covington and her boyfriend were watching television.

Covington said she recognized the woman as her neighbor in Apartment 13 but didn’t know her name was Stephanie Bowling.

Covington also recognized the man as Bowling’s boyfriend but didn’t know his name, Cody Brown, until later.

She heard the man say, “Have you had enough yet?” and then, “Are you done yet?”

He then walked away from Bowling, who was lying on her back with her feet pointed toward the apartment door, Covington said.

A few minutes later, she saw Brown trying to get the woman up off the ground. Bowling, she said, was “struggling” as Brown was trying to move her inside.

Covington stopped watching for a few minutes and when she looked out again, both were gone.

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Brown, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Bowling, is on trial this week in Linn County District Court. The trial started Tuesday and will go into next week.

A criminal complaint states Brown and Bowling were arguing about 2:53 a.m. June 28, 2018, at her home, 795 Bentley Dr. in Marion.

Brown admitted to picking up Bowling and throwing her to the ground.

Police said they found Bowling unresponsive on the living room floor when they arrived. She died June 30, suffering from blunt force trauma to the head.

Covington, under cross-examination, said she thought Brown was trying to help the woman, not hurt her. Nobody was screaming or yelling, though she did hear Brown ask those two questions.

Dispatcher testifies

Elizabeth Harder, a dispatcher with Marion police, testified about the 911 call, which Brown made about 2:49 or 2:50 a.m.

Brown said his girlfriend was unconscious and foaming at the mouth. He didn’t know if she was breathing.

Harder said Brown sounded nervous but “fairly calm.” Brown told her he and Bowling had argued, and she “came after” him and he “moved or flipped” her out of the way.

Brown also said Bowling’s body was “cold” and she was “knocked out.”

Brown tried talking to Bowling several times during the 911 call to get a response, but Bowling didn’t say anything, Harder said. Brown did mention that Bowling may have hit her head but he couldn’t tell if she was bleeding.

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Harder wrote a report of the call because police asked her to do so, but she didn’t find out until later that Brown’s call hadn’t been recorded. The department was having some issues with its recorded calls around this time.

Attorney Tom Viner, on cross-examination, asked if Brown sounded scared during the call.

Harder said no, just nervous. He was calm, she said.

In a deposition, Viner said, Harder had said Brown sounded scared and nervous.

Harder said Brown didn’t sound “overly scared.” But he seemed concerned that Bowling had been seriously injured.

Earlier fight

A Marion police officer and a paramedic testified about their efforts to revive Bowling for 30 minutes before she was taken by ambulance to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital.

In earlier testimony, Bowling’s aunt, Tara Tuetken, and Tuetken’s daughter, Samantha Tuetken of Monticello, testified about seeing Brown six weeks earlier become angry at Bowling.

Tara Tuetken said a group was on a party bus for Samantha’s birthday. During one bar stop, Brown became angry and kicked or threw a cooler because Bowling wouldn’t get off her phone and look at him.

Brown was upset because Bowling was talking to her ex-boyfriend, the father of one of her children, Tara Tuetken said. They were talking and texting about their daughter.

Tara Tuetken said Brown was yelling at Bowling and she was shaking and crying but seemed kind of “numb” to it.

Bowling wasn’t yelling at Brown. She talked to Brown at one point, and he said he was “sick and tired” of Bowling talking her ex-boyfriend.

Tara Tuetken said after she talked to Brown, he calmed down for a short time but then started yelling at Bowling again and kicked a cooler and then threw it.

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Samantha Tuetken said Brown crouched down in front of Bowling, who was texting, pointed his finger in her face and called her a “b****.” He then grabbed Bowling’s lower jaw area or chin and told her to look at him. When Bowling didn’t, Brown let go of her face, she said.

Bowling seemed scared and upset, Samantha Tuetken said.

The prosecution continues its case at 8:45 a.m. Friday.

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

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