An Athens man who caused a wreck that killed one of his passenger in 2015 has been sentenced after pleading guilty to manslaughter, records show.
In accordance with a plea agreement, Limestone County Circuit Judge Chadwick Wise sentenced Walter Lee Bowden, 41, of 26948 Ash Way, to 10 years in state prison for the crime, said Bowden's defense attorney Dan Totten of Athens. However, Wise split the sentence so Bowden would serve a full year in the Limestone County Jail and the balance of the time on probation, Totten said.
Bowden was initially charged with reckless murder and driving under the influence of a controlled substance following a July 19 wreck that killed 64-year-old Thomas Siniard. Siniard was a passenger in the 2013 Dodge Bowden was driving when the vehicle crashed two miles south of Ardmore on Alabama 251, state troopers said.
On Dec. 9, 2016, the Limestone County grand jury formally charged Bowden with reckless murder and DUI after finding he recklessly engaged in conduct that "manifested extreme indifference to human life and created a grave risk of death," court records show.
Bowden accepted a plea offer from the Limestone County District Attorney's Office. Under the agreement, approved Aug. 1, Bowden agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and received a lighter sentence in exchange.