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Veronza Leon Curtis Bowers Jr. (February 4, 1946[1][2]) is a former member of the Black Panther Party. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on the charge of first degree murder of U.S. park ranger Kenneth Patrick at Point Reyes National Seashore in 1973. He is currently incarcerated in a Federal correctional institution in North Carolina.[1][3]

Early life

Veronza Bowers, Jr. was raised in McAlester, Oklahoma and later Omaha, Nebraska. His father, Veronza Bowers, Sr. was a sergeant in the United States Army.[2][4] In 1963, Bowers, Jr. began his military service in the United States Navy Reserve before graduating Omaha South High School in 1964. Bowers, Jr. went active duty in 1966 and was discharged in 1967.[1][5]

In 1968, the Black Panther Party appointed Eddie Bolden to start a chapter of the organization in Omaha, Nebraska. Soon after, Bolden recruited Bowers, Jr. to help develop the new chapter.[6] When Bowers relocated to California, he took on leadership of the Richmond chapter of the Party.[7]

Incarceration

Bowers was eligible for mandatory parole after 30 years. In February 2005, 10 months after he served 30 years in prison, his parole was postponed to give the victim's relatives a chance to express their opposition at a new parole hearing.[8] Bowers was denied parole in October 2005 and December 2011.[9] Bowers has maintained his innocence during his entire 46 years of imprisonment, and through all parole hearings. The evidence that convicted him was based solely off of the testimony of two government informants, both of whom received a reduction in their sentences, and one of whom received $10,000.[10]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Veronza Bowers, Jr. Founder of All-Faith Meditation, a group devoted to healing meditation using the Japanese shakuhachi flute". veronza.org. Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  2. ^ a b "Veronza Bowers, Jr: 47 Years of Justice Denied | The Final Straw Radio Podcast". 18 April 2021. Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  3. ^ "Inmate Locator". www.bop.gov. Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  4. ^ Patterson, Michael Robert (2023-04-24). "Veronza Bowers Sr. - Sergeant, United States Army". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  5. ^ Veterans for Peace. (2005) National Convention, Dallas TX. Freedom of Veronza Bowers. https://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/1214/5590/0016/16.02.18.VFPMasterIndex.pdf
  6. ^ Howard, Ashley M., "Then the burning began: Omaha, riots, and the growth of black radicalism, 1966-1969" (2006). Student Work. 552. https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/studentwork/552
  7. ^ Committee to End the Marion Lockdown (CEML) (1998). Can't Jail the Spirit: Political Prisoners in the U.S., A Collection of Biographies.
  8. ^ Peter Fimrite (2005-02-23). "Park ranger killer's parole is delayed". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
  9. ^ "U.S. Court of Appeals Reverses Prisoner's Parole Board Suit | Prison Legal News".
  10. ^ http://veronza.org/