AUGUSTA — A city man who dropped a baseball-size bag of cocaine as he fled from an Augusta police officer after a June 2016 traffic stop was ordered to serve five years in prison for the aggravated drug trafficking charge that resulted.

Donald E. Bowden, 35, was sentenced Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center. Justice Robert Mullen ordered that term to be served after Bowden finishes a 40-month probation revocation.

The sentencing took place in front of about 15 of Bowden’s family members and friends, several of whom pleaded with the judge to make the sentence concurrent to the probation revocation term imposed earlier this month.

Mullen refused, saying that without a consecutive sentence, Bowden would not be punished for the crime. Mullen also cited the four-year minimum term the Legislature has set for the offense.

“You had 41 grams of cocaine and it’s impossible to escape the fact that you were going to be selling that to people,” Mullen told Bowden. “You of all people should know the havoc drug addiction could wreak on people’s lives.”

Bowden had been on probation for drug convictions from 2002 when he ran from police on June 11, 2016.

Mullen also noted that neither attorney requested probation for Bowden.

“Probation hasn’t worked for Mr. Bowden,” Mullen said. “He’s been given multiple chances to succeed, including (Co-Occurring Disorders Court).”

On Tuesday, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney, Kate Marshall requested a six-year consecutive sentence, while defense attorney Andrew Dawson argued for a 4.5-year sentence that would run concurrently.

“When Donald is doing well, he’s doing really well,” Dawson said, describing Bowden as a good father and active member of his church and community. “He’s been in a long-term battle against addiction.”

Dawson said Bowden had sought help for his addiction a few days before his arrest, but no treatment beds were available.

“His addiction overrode the choices that he had,” Dawson said.

Bowden himself told the judge he was now thankful for being arrested.

“Jail became my detox, and prison’s going to be my rehabilitation,” Bowden said, dressed in a prison uniform of a blue short-sleeved shirt and jeans.

He told the judge that because of his addiction, he missed both his daughters’ graduations and will miss his son’s.

“It’s hard to know that I’m giving away years and years of my life, and it’s affecting many people,” Bowden said.

One of Bowden’s fellow church members, Larry Mason, told the judge that Bowden showed courage in giving testimony at the church about his addiction.

“I hope you would see he’s not a lost cause,” Mason said.

Bowden’s wife said that while Bowden always has been there for his children, “addiction got the best of him.”

Marshall said Bowden had plenty of resources to aid him, including the people who came to court Tuesday to support him, “but he resorted to selling instead of getting additional help.”

She said a consecutive sentence was appropriate because of the seriousness of the conduct and Bowden’s criminal history.

Bowden pleaded guilty Jan. 4, 2017, in front of Mullen.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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