BY MIKE FUHRMAN
Two weeks after Shana Nichole Harmon was shot and killed in a Statesville drug house, Winston-Salem police executed a search warrant at the home of the man charged with killing her.
According to testimony Tuesday in Iredell County Superior Court, police seized six firearms, almost 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, $6,000 in cash, cell phones and paraphernalia associated with the packaging and sale of drugs from Jhammar Vernon Bowen’s residence.
The prosecution contends that evidence — found in a home on Farmoor Circle in Winston-Salem on January 31, 2020 — helps prove that Bowen, 30, had a motive to kill Harmon.
Earlier witnesses testified that Bowen cooked crack cocaine in various locations and provided it to his alleged accomplice, Qawiesha Toliver, to sell in Statesville.
Toliver testified that Bowen shot Harmon, 25, three times in an abandoned home off 8th Street used for drugs and prostitution after driving her there on the morning of January 16, 2020. The shooting occurred a day after Toliver relayed a message to Bowen from an acquaintance that Harmon stole cocaine from Toliver’s apartment.
Bowen, 30, is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with Harmon’s death. He has pleaded not guilty, and defense attorney Ken Darty has implied throughout the trial that Toliver — not his client — shot and killed Harmon.
Three witnesses who were employed by the Winston-Salem Police Department testified Tuesday about what they found in the home that Bowen shared with his wife and two men on Farmoor Circle.
WSPD Sgt. Brooks George was conducting a surveillance operation outside Bowen’s house at 5010 Farmoor Circle on the date Statesville and Winston-Salem police planned to serve Bowen with a warrant charging him with Harmon’s murder.
When Bowen was observed stepping outside the house to empty a mop bucket late that morning, George quickly closed in and arrested him before he could close the kitchen door, the sergeant testified Tuesday.
Bowen “assumed a defeated position” when he saw George, who was outfitted in SWAT team tactical gear and pointed his weapon at him, George added. Bowen was taken into custody without incident, he testified. Two other men who were in the home were also arrested and charged with drug-related crimes.
When he entered the home, George saw a steel pot on the kitchen stove along with a kilo press used for concentrating drugs, George told the jury.
Lacy Dills, a forensic services technician, testified about the evidence found inside the house, including several packages of a white powdery substance found in a nightstand in a front bedroom, along with digital scales, a vacuum sealer, Bowen’s Jamaican ID card and documents related to repair work for a Nissan Rogue with Bowen’s name on it. Toliver earlier told the jury that she, Harmon and Bowen traveled to the house where Harmon was killed in a Nissan Rogue.
In the master bedroom, Dills and former WSPD Detective Cory Luper testified, investigators found a 9 mm handgun on the nightstand and two military-style rifles, drum magazines, and $6,000 in cash. A signed lease agreement bearing Bowen’s name was also found in the room, along with .40-caliber ammunition, the witnesses said.
According to earlier testimony, two spent .40-caliber cartridges were found inside the 8th Street home and a third was found on the ground near where Harmon’s body was found on the steps at the back of the house.
The gun used in the shooting was not recovered, according to witness testimony, and no .40-caliber firearms were found in Bowen’s home or vehicle.
In an earlier ruling, Visiting Judge Lori Hamilton ruled that limited evidence from the police search of the Farmoor Circle home could be introduced by the prosecution.
However, the jury cannot used evidence of past wrongs or acts as evidence of Bowen’s guilt on the murder and conspiracy charges. That evidence can be used to support the prosecution’s theory about motive, intent and opportunity, according to the judge’s ruling.
In other testimony Tuesday, Statesville police Investigator Christy Cleary told the jury that a laboratory analysis of shoes seized from Toliver’s apartment a week after Harmon’s death revealed no evidence of blood.
In the early hours of the investigation, after identifying Harmon’s body and knowing that she had worked in prostitution, Cleary testified, investigators suspected that her killer may have been someone she came into contact through her work.
But investigators soon turned their attention to Toliver after examining information associated with Shana Harmon’s Facebook Messenger account and interviewing Toliver’s girlfriend and roommate, who told police she saw Toliver, Bowen and Harmon leave the East Broad Street apartment together on the morning Harmon was killed.
Toliver was arrested on January 23, 2020. She told investigators in March of 2021 that Bowen killed Harmon, a statement the defense contends was made to secure her release from jail.
Assistant District Attorney Mikko Red Arrow plans to complete his case on Wednesday. Jury deliberations could begin as soon Wednesday afternoon.
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