2 men arrested after pregnant Michigan woman set fire, shot

Posted at 10:47 PM, May 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-30 00:51:27-04
By John Fricke and Phil Gast


(CNN) — Two men were arraigned Tuesday in connection with an attack on a Michigan woman who gave birth three days after being abducted, set on fire and shot in the back, police said.

One of the suspects, the woman’s former boyfriend, is the father of the boy born Tuesday morning, said Louis Galasso, police deputy commissioner in Warren, a Detroit suburb.

The man conspired with his roommate to terminate the pregnancy, police said.

“There is not a scintilla of any mitigating events in this case,” Galasso said. “It is nothing more than a disturbing, diabolic scheme put together by two individuals.”

The Detroit mother and baby were hospitalized Tuesday afternoon in an undisclosed location. The infant was in the intensive care unit and the woman, 22, was in stable condition, said Galasso.

Police have charged Latonya Bowman’s former boyfriend, Jamal Rashard Rogers, and his roommate, Antonio Valentine Mathis. Both are 22.

The men Tuesday entered not guilty pleas to multiple charges, including assault with intent to murder, unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy to commit homicide. Mathis also faces a weapons charge, police said. They were denied bond and sought court-appointed attorneys.

Rogers had told Bowman he wanted nothing to do with his child once it was born, according to Galasso.

The conspiracy with Mathis began in March and continued as the woman entered her final stage of pregnancy, authorities said.

At some point, Rogers, who is expecting a child with another woman, told Bowman he wanted to reconcile, Galasso said.

A videotape taken Friday at an area Home Depot allegedly shows Mathis buying gloves, tape and rope hours before Saturday morning’s incident. Police said they believe Rogers, who allegedly has two other children, drove Mathis to the Home Depot to buy the items.

Several hours later, Bowman drove her SUV to Rogers’ Warren residence and they went to a movie.

Afterward, Rogers instructed Bowman to pull into the garage, where a gunman taped her eyes and mouth shut and bound her hands, police said. The abductor, who police believe was Mathis, drove toward Detroit with the woman.

“As they are driving he makes a reference to her pregnancy and says, ‘You know why I am doing this’ and asks how far along she was in her pregnancy,” Galasso said.

After the abductor stopped the vehicle, the woman was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

“She was able to roll out of the vehicle and tries to extinguish herself on the ground and hears two gunshots. One hits her in the upper back and she plays dead,” Galasso said.

According to police, Rogers sent pretend text messages to the woman during the abduction.

Bowman told police she did not know her abductor.

Rogers said he originally conspired to end the pregnancy, but changed his mind at the last moment and told Mathis to abandon the plan, said Galasso. “We don’t believe that statement to be credible.”

Mathis has denied responsibility. “There is no indication there was any monetary exchange or remediation,” Galasso said.

Bowman was able to drive to a service station and call her mother.

Mohamed Zokari, an employee at the Shell station, told CNN affiliate WDIV that employees gave the woman a T-shirt when she walked in.

“Everything was bad, she was burned up,” Zokari said. “She was in a bad situation.”

“The burns were significant and resulted in a lot of blistering,” Galasso said. “They are all over her arms, chest and back.”

The victim went into labor early Tuesday and had an emergency C-section, three weeks before her due date.

“She has demonstrated her courage, and I suspect she will fully recover,” Galasso said.

CNN’s Jake Carpenter contributed to this report.

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