Grand jury to hear evidence against Portsmouth man accused of murder

Joshua L. Bowen

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Two felony charges against a 21-year-old man accused of shooting a woman to death were certified to a grand jury on Wednesday.

Joshua Bowen is accused of shooting and killing Jennifer Bartell on March 14. The shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. on Cushing Street where Bowen’s girlfriend, Albany Pierce, was fighting with Daycia Gladys-Hemphill, a friend of Bartell’s daughter.

The physical fight had been brewing for about 12 hours through an argument happening on Facebook. The fight was sparked by a man, who was not involved in the shooting, posting nude pictures of Gladys-Hemphill online, she testified.

Bowen told police that Pierce and Gladys-Hemphill were physically fighting on the street when Bartell appeared outside of her home holding a gun and trying to cock it. Bowen said he shot her in self defense, firing 10 shots at her and fatally hitting her with three bullets, Portsmouth Homicide Detective John Humphries testified. 

Bowen also told police that he verbally told Bartell to stop before shooting her; however, that warning could not be heard in video of the shooting that was played for the court.

The shooting wasn’t the first time Bowen and Pierce came to Bartell’s Cushing Street home during the course of the online argument. They came to the house twice that day, leaving once after Bartell’s husband fired a shot into the air, Gladys-Hemphill testified.

Gladys-Hemphill and Bartell’s daughter did agree to physically fight with Pierce, but that altercation was supposed to happen at a nearby church — not outside of the Cushing Street home.

Pierce and two others — Shyrayno Jackson and Shaunicka Cooley — were charged with accessory after the homicide because police say they helped hide Bowen and his gun after the shooting. A prosecutor withdrew the charges so that the trio could not be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime in the event the judge did not certify charges against Bowen.

Bowen’s case will move forward, and the prosecutor said that she will likely seek to re-indict Pierce, Jackson and Cooley at a later date.

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