NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY/WOOD) — The suspect in a cold case murder dating back to 1980 told a Virginia judge Monday morning that he wants to plead guilty, but the judge wasn’t ready to accept the plea.
Dennis Bowman, 70, was extradited from Michigan to Virginia over the weekend on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Kathleen Doyle.
Bowman told Norfolk General District Judge Robert Rigney he wanted to plead guilty and act as his own attorney. Rigney appointed backup counsel to advise Bowman before accepting any plea, citing the seriousness of the charge.
Doyle was found strangled and stabbed twice in the chest at her Norfolk home on Sept. 11, 1980, while her husband, a U.S. Navy pilot, was deployed.
Investigators said they used forensic evidence to connect Bowman to the case. He was arrested in November, culminating nearly 40 years of investigation by Norfolk police, NCIS, and state and local authorities in Allegan County, Michigan, where Bowman has lived for decades.
Norfolk Chief Larry Boone said in a statement the yearslong investigation shows the department’s commitment to getting justice for victims and their families.
“No victim is ever forgotten,” Boone said.
It’s unclear what connection Bowman had to Doyle or her neighborhood in 1980.
Last week, Allegan County authorities announced they are also investigating whether Bowman may have killed his adopted daughter Aundria Bowman, who was 14 years old when she disappeared from her home in 1989.
Investigators said they found skeletal remains on Bowman’s property near Hamilton after they were told Aundria’s body may have been buried in a shallow grave.
Authorities have yet to identify the remains. Bowman is not currently charged in Aundria’s death.
He has a criminal record dating back to 1980 that includes charges for assault, burglary and sexual assault.
The original version of this article first appeared on WAVY.com.