Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

On Thursday, July 2, 2015, Travion Kirkland, age 21, of South Bend, received an aggravated sentence of 59 years from Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker, as a result of Kirkland being found guilty of Felony Murder on June 5, 2015.

Kirkland's charge arose from an investigation conducted by the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department. The investigation revealed that on April 16, 2012, Kirkland and his accomplice, wearing nylon masks over their faces, entered the home of 21 year old Jesse Bowen to rob him of marijuana and money. During an altercation inside the home, Kirkland shot and killed Jesse Bowen. Kirkland and his accomplice then fled the home, and thereafter, Kirkland attempted to create an alibi for his whereabouts during the shooting.

During Kirkland's five day jury trial, Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Joel Williams and Don Pitzer presented physical and DNA evidence that linked Kirkland to the shooting, as well as testimony from two eyewitnesses who positively identified Kirkland as the person who shot and killed Jesse Bowen. Kirkland claimed he was with his cousin elsewhere at the time of the shooting. Kirkland's alleged alibi was unmasked to the jury as a concocted story, when they heard Kirkland's multiple versions of where alleged he was at the time Jesse Bowen was shot.

At the sentencing hearing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joel Williams pointed out Kirkland planned the robbery, recruited others to rob Jesse Bowen, shot Jesse Bowen when he did not comply with his demands, and then tried to cover-up his actions by attempting to create an alibi using his unknowing friends. Jesse Bowen's aunt and cousin also spoke at the sentencing hearing and they described the unbearable loss their family and friends have endured due to the senseless acts of Kirkland.

Kirkland will serve his fifty-nine year aggravated sentence at the Indiana Department of Correction.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”