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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Erbie Bowser, the former Mavs ManiAACs dancer, claims he was insane when he went on a two-city shooting spree that left three women and a 17-year-old girl dead.
The women targeted in the August 2013 attack were Bowser’s estranged wife and a woman he began dating after the couple separated. As the first day of testimony got underway in the 363rd District Court, Bowser entered a plea of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’.
A Dallas police officer testified that when he arrived at the southwest Dallas home of 43-year-old Toya Smith on the evening of August 7, he was met by relatives who were screaming hysterically that “they’re all dead.”
According to the medical examiner, Smith died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Smith’s 17- year-old daughter, Tasmia Allen, was also murdered. Allen was co-captain of the Duncanville High School drill team. Friends say she dreamed of being a teacher.
Most of the relatives that filled the courtroom looked away as prosecutors presented gruesome crime scene photos — one showing Tasmia’s lifeless body in a pool of blood with a piece of pizza still in her hand.
Smith’s younger son was also wounded as was Tasmia’s friend, another teenage girl who was just visiting that evening.
According to police, roughly 15 minutes later, Bowser used an explosive to gain access to his estranged wife’s home in DeSoto. As the marriage disintegrated, Zina Williams Bowser had previously obtained a restraining order against the man now charged in her murder.
“I heard my Mom scream, ‘no, Erbie no!’ recalled Christopher White, who was just 13 at the time of the shootings, “and then some gunshots.”
Christopher told jurors that the intrusion alarm had sounded and the family thought that someone was breaking into the house. According to Christopher, his older sister Neima Williams began turning off lights and herding them into a closet. There he hid with Williams, her toddler son, and his younger brother, Miles.
Soft spoken and composed, Christopher’s words held the jury riveted as he described how his mother’s estranged husband essentially hunted them in their own home.
“I heard him busting into doors,” testified the now 17-year-old, “calling Miles’ name, trying to find out where we were. He burst into the door and flicks on the light and comes around to the closet. He opens the closet door and asks for me and Miles to come out of the closet, saying ‘ya’ll aren’t gonna listen,’ and then he fired at me.”
Christopher was left with a spine injury that led to two months in the hospital. He amazed doctors with his recovery and is now able to walk with the help of crutches.
But, his older sister Neima Williams was murdered. Her toddler son survived as his young uncles hid him under some coats to try and keep him safe.
“I grabbed the phone and called the police,” testified Miles White, who was 10 at the time and was also wounded. “My brother said he couldn’t feel his legs,” continued Miles, now 13. “He pulled himself up on the bar. I was in shock. I didn’t remember our address, his name… all I could think about was, was I going to die or not.”
Testimony resumes Tuesday morning.