Wednesday, May 1, 2024

"I Think I'm Done"

Sparks flew in the courtroom yesterday as the late Dau Mabil's brother and wife sparred over who had the right to order an independent autopsy of his body. The courtroom drama revealed Mabil and his wife experienced marital problems shortly before his disappearance.  Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas will rule on the case by tomorrow.

 Recap of Case

Lawrence County deputies recovered Dau Mabil's body in the Pearl River on April 13.  The body was transferred to the Capitol Police.  Mabil disappeared on March 25 when he went for a walk in Belhaven.  He was the subject of a massive search by law enforcement and numerous volunteers.  The 34 year-old African immigrant was a favorite at Sal & Mookies where he was a manager.  He was married to Karissa Bowley.  

Dau's brother, Bul, filed a petition for an injunction and an emergency hearing on April 17 against Bowley, the Capitol Police, and the Mississippi State Crime Lab in Hinds County Chancery Court.  

Chancellor Dewayne Thomas held a hearing the next day.  Bul appeared with his attorneys, Lisa Ross and Carlos Tanner.  None of the defendants appeared in court.  

Ms. Ross said Bul feared his brother's remains would be released without an autopsy. "This is an emergency matter. If the body is released, it could be mishandled," said the lawyer.  She asked the Chancellor to order the state to conduct an autopsy. 

Judge Thomas ordered the state to conduct an autopsy on the body but said Bul Mabil could conduct an independent autopsy although he would have to pay for it.  The Court held: 

If the human remains found are released without autopsy, any potential evidence will be compromised. Similarly, there is indication that the human remains will be cremated upon release. The same will render any forensic investigation impossible. Absent court interference, Plaintiff will be unable to determine the cause of his brother's death. This Court finds that Plaintiffs injuries will be irreparable.

However, Mabil's wife, Karissa Bowley, said not so fast, my friend.  She filed a motion to modify the injunction several hours after the hearing.  She stated she was served a copy of the complaint at 5 PM the day before the hearing but did not receive notice of the hearing (Pay attention to that last part.).  She claimed she would have attended if she had known about the hearing. 

Bowley pointed out state law grants her sole control of her husband's remains:

Miss. Code. Ann. § 41-37-25 (“No [independent] autopsy shall be held over the objection of the surviving spouse, or if there be no surviving spouse, of any surviving parent, or if there be neither a surviving spouse nor parent, then of any surviving child.”).


Yesterday's Hearing

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety filed its own motion to dismiss.  DPS said it received no notice of the emergency hearing and Bul sued the wrong parties.  It asked for a hearing to be held yesterday.  The Chancellor granted the request and held court yesterday. 

Unlike the first emergency hearing when only this correspondent attended, the media appeared in force yesterday.

The hearing opened with Ms. Ross objecting to the presence of Bowley's brother, Spencer, sitting behind the bar.  She said although he was a Texas attorney, he is not licensed in Mississippi and should not be allowed to sit behind the bar nor have his cellphone, a privilege granted to attorneys in most courts.  Although he moved, she still objected to him having a cellphone in the courtroom.  Judge Thomas overruled her objection and allowed him to keep his phone.   

Judge Thomas struck down the defendants' first objection.  Even though they received no notice of the first hearing, the Chancellor said he would have held the hearing anyway due to the strong community interest in the case. It was a point Judge Thomas repeated throughout the three-hour hearing.  "However, at this point, I'm reluctant to dismiss my order unless an autopsy has been released by DPS and all parties are satisfied," said the judge.  

The Chancellor decreed he would continue the injunction.  He pointed out the ruling is "pretty close" to what DPS requested in its motion.  He said the state has "the right to conduct an autopsy without any interference by any party or persons."

The ruling should have ended the hearing but the hearing instead transformed into an informal inquest as Judge Thomas said he was going to allow everyone "to have a bite at the apple."  

Bowley's attorney, Paloma Wu, told the Court that her client's only interest is to support a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding her husband's death and to learn the truth.  The widow has never opposed a third-party autopsy and would have authorized one if asked by Bul.  

Wu pointed out Mississippi law bars Bul from obtaining an autopsy since she is the next of kin. (11:30) She wants to exercise her authority to approve an autopsy per specific criteria.  She wants such an autopsy completed within a month after the investigation is complete.  She wants the autopsy performed by a pathologist who is at least as qualified as those conducting an autopsy for the state. She also said the pathologist must be someone designated by the State Medical Examiner or DPS to conduct autopsies in Mississippi.  The attorney said Bowley will not allow an autopsy to be conducted by an underqualified pathologist.  

 Judge Thomas took it all in and said he would replace Bul with Bowley as the plaintiff in the lawsuit as Bul had no standing to bring the suit.  However, he would allow him to remain as guardian of Dau's five year-old child. Wu continued to argue Bul had no standing as she sought to get him dismissed from the lawsuit but Judge Thomas said "I was convinced after reading your motion you were right.  How long do we have to beat this dead horse?"  Wu took the hint and retired. 

DPS's attorney, Claire Barker, said it had no questions since the Chancellor granted the relief requested. 

 Judge Thomas said he was "not happy" the parties were not properly served for the first hearing" but he was "moving on from it."  

Bul's lawyer then responded to Wu, claiming Bowley is not a surviving spouse due to an (alleged) separation at the time of death.  However, Ross admitted there are no Mississippi cases on the subject of whether a separated spouse is still considered to be a surviving spouse.  There is no legal separation in Mississippi. 

She disputed Bowley's criteria for an independent medical examiner.  She said Bul's medical examiner will "be more qualified than anyone at DPS. We are not going to spend thousands of dollars on a rogue medical examiner. It's not independent if DPS picks the medical examiner from its own list," said Ross. 

Ross questioned whether Bowley would be transparent with the autopsy results when she received them from DPS.  "If you let her have her way, she can get an autopsy and never have to disclose the results to the public," said Ross. 

Karissa Bowley took the stand and this is where the fun began. (30:30) What took place for over an hour was a grilling that grew contentious at times as the Chancellor repeatedly admonished Ross, Bowley, and Wu for talking over each other and even him. 

The attorney asked Dau's widow about a March 7 text from her to Pam Griffin, the mother of Dau's child.  She texted "I'm staying with my mom and dad."  Bowley said she told Griffin she was  staying near husband at her parents' home in Belhaven." She texted "Dau's drinking alot and not treating me well."  Bowley grew combative as the quiz continued .

"You refer to him misbehaving as a child," asked Ross.  Bowley replied she was just expressing her experience of what was happening between them.  Wu repeatedly objected to the introduction of the texts but was overruled. 

Ross said "You didn't call Bul or Pamela" when Dau disappeared.  Bowley disagreed said she called her brother and father because his brother lived 6 1/2 hours away." More bickering erupted.  Judge Thomas stopped the hearing and threatened to recess it all.  (40:00)

The attorney introduced a new text into evidence.  Bowley forwarded a text to Bul on march 25.  The text was from Dau and said he was charging his phone and going walking in the square.  Ross asked "Did you send that text to yourself?"  "I copied and pasted that message from Dau and sent it to Bul," replied the widow.  Ross asked again if she used Dau's phone to text the message to herself.  Bowley replied he texted it to her at 11:58 AM and that she was away doing yard work. 

"On March 23, were you separated from Dau," asked Ross.  "No," said Bowley.  

The questioning moved on to Bowley's listening tastes.  Ross asked Bowley is she was playing "feminist podcasts" before Dau went missing.  Wu objected. Ross said the question went to "loving support for husband when she was (allegedly) using it (podcasts) to "irritate him".  Bowley responded her husband would bring it up but I would avoid arguing about them because it was something I liked to listen to. Ross continued. 

Ross: "Did Dau tell you he was over you?"

Bowley: "No"  

Ross: "Had you been struggling with controlling your emotions before he went missing?"

Bowley: "We had mutual arguments where we both got angry." 

Ross: "Why weren't you walking with him the day he went missing?" 

Bowley: "I was at work and let him sleep when he fell asleep on the couch. 

Ross: "Did Dau tell you he could not do that anymore?" (referring to staying with her)

Bowley: "We were trying to work through them"

Ross: "So the day he went missing you went mysteriously to a neighbor's house." 

Bowley: "There was nothing mysterious."

Ross: "You were a loving couple on March 25, 2024?"

Bowley: "Yes, we were,"...

Ross: "On March 23, were you separated from Dau?"
Bowley: "No"

Ross: "You said you let him (sleep), was Dau your child?" 

Bowley: "That's not a serious question. (Judge Thomas told her to answer it)"  She told Judge Thomas "She just asked me if Dau is my child."  Judge Thomas said "I understand" as he asked Ross to rephrase the question. 

Ross: "Was Dau a man?" 
Bowley: "Yes, he was my husband".....

Ross: "He could make his decisions that he didn't want you anymore? 

Bowley: "Yes, but not to my knowledge."  

Ross: "Do you know who harmed Dau? 
Bowley: Ma'am, I'd love to find out."

Ross: "Have you submitted yourself for questioning for JPD? 

Bowley: "I've been answering questions from JPD the entire time."

Ross: "Did you put your father on the trail at 2 PM (that day)"

Bowley: Cutting off Ross, "My father is a man who decides where he wants to go.

Judge Thomas (51:10) said "this is getting out of hand and frankly I've had enough of it.  Both of y'all need to calm down."

Ross: Have you submitted yourself to an interview?" Bowley cut her off again.  Judge Thomas yelled at her "Ma'am, when I talk, you shut up. Now listen to her question."

Bowley: I have not been asked to do so. 

Ross: Did you turn in your phone to JPD?
Bowley: "No, they didn't ask for it. Neither did Capitol Police."  .....

Ross: Do you know how Dau got in the Pearl River?" 
Bowley: (in a lowered voice) "I have no idea"

Ross: "Do you know who put Dau in the Pearl River?"
Bowley: "I have no idea"

The quiz continued along these lines for quite some time.  Bowley said JPD twice scheduled interviews with her only to cancel them.  She testified law enforcement did not ask her to identify Dau's body.  She said the Capitol Police identified the body through dental records and recognizing a screw in Dau's hip from an earlier surgery.  

Bowley complained JPD and Capitol Police were moving to slow and accused them of infighting.  She reiterated she and Dau were not separated when Ross asked her if they were. She launched the search for Dau when he disappeared.  She said she did not intend to destroy (cremate) his remains.  Bowley broke down and cried as her lawyer questioned her.

Ross finally sat down as Wo took her turn at bat. 

Wu: "Did you kill your husband?" 

Bowley: "No"

Wu: "Did you put someone up to it?"

Bowley: "No, that's crazy."  

On redirect, Bowley said she had no problem sharing the autopsy report with the public.  

However, text messages between Dau and Pam Griffin showed the couple was having problems in February:

Indeed, Bowley texted Griffin on March 7: 
and in March he was ready to call it quits .

Rising to the podium, Wu said the hearing "has become a forum for a free-wheeling murder trial" as she accused Ross of "defamation." Judge Thomas replied he was "trying to give everyone a bite at the apple. For some reason, no one trusts anyone."  Wu said she wanted to reserve the right to ask for sanctions, presumably against her opposing counsel.  

The Chancellor said he would issue an order by Thursday.  "I think the wife of the deceased needs to be a necessary party to this action," said Judge Thomas.  He stated he would keep the order in place until the state completed its autopsy and the wife agreed that it be made public.  He said he hoped the brother and widow could agree on a medical examiner although he can't order them to do so. 

Kingfish note: I forgot to add this tidbit to the story but Bowley said Dau could swim after Ross asked her the question.  


Anonymous said...

I wonder how many marriages are destroyed by feminist podcasts

Anonymous said...

One look at the widow's social media and one could quickly tell she is a far left kook.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely bizarre. What in the world was that Judge thinking? Does he want to be on the news? Get some attention? This was suppose to be a hearing on the filings. He turned it into a murder trial. I agree with Wu and I hope she goes after Ross with a vengeance. With someone could sanction the Judge as well.

Judge: "I think the wife of the deceased needs to be a necessary party to this action." Well, yes, dumbass, that's the law. She has not been charged with anything.

Judge stated he would keep the order in place until the state completed its autopsy and the wife agreed that it be made public. Ok, Judge, what law is on our books that an autopsy be made public? Is the Judge now working for Ross?

Judge Thomas yelled at her (wife) "Ma'am, when I talk, you shut up. Now listen to her question." So, in essence, the Judge wanted a murder trial in court.

Ross admitted there are no Mississippi cases on the subject of whether a separated spouse is still considered to be a surviving spouse. There is no legal separation in Mississippi. SO WHY DID SHE REPEATEDLY GO ON AN ON? Again, just berating wife.

This just blows my mind. What a fiasco. Wife has not been charged yet Judge allows Ross to treat this hearing as a murder trial.

It would appear the Judge was wanting the biggest bite of the apple.

Kingfish said...

Or gave her a lot of leeway when he is going to rule against her.

Anonymous said...

Bombshells incoming.

Anonymous said...

I hope so, Kingfish. I'm amazed this was to be one thing and turned into this. Police haven't even finished investigation. Excellent coverage and many thanks.

Connecting Dots said...

I looked at her social media account (Facebook page) and for a few scrolls it seemed normal, but the further I got into it, the more "kookie" all the posts and her associations became. A Rhodes grad serving pizza and talking of witches, goblins and magic carpet rides?

Aside from that, I noticed this: He had barely been missing a few days when she was busily crafting missing person posters and contacting national media and drumming up support.

Then, out of the blue, she says this in her public comments: "Dear Friends, Dau Mabil is my husband of 4 years. We are big lovers of walking in Jackson, MS, home of the Pearl River. Last week on Monday March 25 at 11:58 he sent me this text from home on our day off..."

Why mention the Pearl River? He had said nothing at all about his walk including the Pearl River, only that he was going for a walk in Belhaven, and it's very interesting that she felt a need to mention it, since that's where the body was found.

As an aside, watching the video provided above, it's apparent to me that Linda Ross has been partaking of a few pizzas herself.

Anonymous said...

Ross could not care less that she mislead the judge about the crucial issue of givng notice to all interested parties. Just her method. Once she got into court she was on safari hunting big game even though there is no real issue. Nothing criminal has been determined at this time, so all this is premature except to Ross and her minions who will find something no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the judge even allowed an evidentiary hearing, unless he just wanted to find out what this is really all about, knowing the parties aren't done yet.

Anonymous said...

And I was told all this was similar to the murder of Emmit Till.
Was he mentioned during this hearing?

Anonymous said...

Forensic search of all the cellphones.

Hookah said...

a lovely stroll along the Pearl River as CoJ dumps millions of gallons of sewage into it

Anonymous said...

Wow! I saw that comment too about the Pearl River. Of all things she could have said MS was known for, she chose the pearl river. The timeline of events don't match up. Did she run back to the house and send that text? Was all this a coverup? And her body language at the news conference she couldn't stand she was so nervous. I feel she knows exactly what happened. Was there any gain for his passing instead of a divorce, or was it just that controlling behavior and podcasts that got to her? I hope all things come to light, for Dau. He seemed like a wonderful person and very well liked.

Anonymous said...

@4:20 minutes in, the judge is talking about service of process and says he would have held the hearing on April 18th because of community interest in the “alleged” death. Was it still a missing person case on 4/18?

Anonymous said...

What does 'community interest' have to do with holding the hearing? It was all a clown show scripted by the judge who played himself in the starring role.

I'm betting he watched the whole thing three times last night.

lastly: Dau did not send that message to her on his phone which was conveniently left at the house. She sent it herself.

Anonymous said...

The river was really high at the time of his disappearance. Is it possible that he fell into the river and drowned without any foul play? I stood at the edge of it on the trail by the river around that time at Lefluers Bluff State park. I could easily see that happening. Allow whatever autopsy requested.
It doesn't look like anyone is trying to hide anything by demanding an autopsy.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Ross is the black Fran Drescher.

Anonymous said...

Jackson and Hinds County just keeps on a-giving.....

Anonymous said...

If you live in Belhaven or the Heights it's not at all strange to take walks by the Pearl. It's a stone's throw away and there are trails. This whole thing muddy be Kafkaesque for Karissa, who used to babysit my oldest years ago. Disparage her all you like as a liberal kook who slices pizzas, this is a freaking nightmare for a very sweet girl regardless of her ideology.

Anonymous said...

Wife is definitely seeming shady about all this. I can’t believe JPD not Cap Po have yet to even question her or ask for cell data. If this were to happen in a competent city we would be much further into this odd death. Nobody decides to leave their phone at home and go walk around Jackson. Really?

Anonymous said...

9:37 AM. No one should walk around in Jackson. Carrying a phone or not is not out of the question. Most of the time my phone sets on my desk at home. Somehow I survived most of my life without carrying a phone around. I even lived some of my life without a phone in my home.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Hinds County Chancery Court!

Where the judges chew gum and the Rules (Evidence/Procedure/decorum) don't matter!

Anonymous said...

Everything about this looks bad on so many levels that I can’t begin to express my thoughts correctly. But, I would say she had something to do with his death. In other words this whole thing stinks. Many murders are committed in Jackson and the surrounding areas so why is this case being given so much attention?

Anonymous said...

9:32 AM is right - Karissa is a very nice person, a gentle person who would never harm anyone. She and Dau were an earnest, hardworking couple. In addition to their jobs at Sal & Mookie's, they also cut lawns and did yardwork to earn extra money. She doesn't deserve the harsh, cruel comments that have appeared here.

Anonymous said...

The April 3 post referencing the Pearl River was sent out by HALO rescue team to help marshall resources for the search that occurred on the Pearl River April 5. The community organized this search.

Anonymous said...

Great job! Ms Lisa Ross. Something is very suspicious about Karrisa Bowley and her testimony.

Anonymous said...

Seems like suicide. Apparently he was drinking a lot and having marital trouble. I mean, why not jump to that conclusion? Personally, I find drinking much more suspicious than listening to feminist podscasts.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Ross is a disgrace - there's nothing she won't do or say. I hope Paloma Wu seeks sanctions against her, and Judge Thomas too, for allowing what was supposed to be a hearing about filings to devolve into something resembling a grand jury proceeding.

Wow said...

Hoping for the best outcome for all.

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