Board denies parole for Lonnie Botts, sentenced to life for killing Columbus Police Officer Thomas 'Spanky' Bowen


The man convicted of shooting Columbus Patrol Officer Thomas "Spanky" Bowen twice in the head on March 11, 1984, has been denied parole, according to family and friends.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles said Monday it could not yet confirm that Lonnie Gene Botts, who was sentenced to life for murdering the police officer, will remain in prison for at least five more years.

But Randy Robertson of the local Fraternal Order of Police said Bowen's parents called him this morning to say the state had notified them that Botts' parole was denied. The FOP had solicited correspondence from people opposing Botts' parole, and the parole board received about 3,000 letters, Robertson said.

Botts likely will come up for parole again in 2014.

Botts shot Bowen after wrecking his getaway car at Auburn Avenue and Edgewood Road, where Bowen had chased it from an attempted armed robbery at a Macon Road restaurant then called the Bombay Bicyle Club. Botts abandoned his car there and fled, but surrendered to police when he learned authorities were searching for him. He received a life sentence after pleading guilty to the charges against him.