Serial killer linked to 1994 Savannah murder to be executed this week

Serial killer to be executed this week

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A serial killer tied to the murders of six men, including one right here in Savannah, is set to be executed this Thursday in Florida.

Gary Ray Bowles murdered a 72-year old man in Savannah in 1994, and it was actually the work of the Savannah Police Department detective that helped bring the first warrant for Bowles’ arrest.

WTOC spoke with that detective, now retired from the department, about the case and what still stands out all these years later.

Now with the Pooler Police Department, John Best was a detective corporal with the Savannah Police Department in 1994 when he took on his first murder investigation.

It turned out to be the latest at that time in a series of murders committed by Gary Ray Bowles.

“It was a pretty, pretty rough crime scene. There’s a term we use called overkill. Overkill was definitely used here," said Best, as he recalled the brutality of the murder.

The victim, 72-year old Milton Bradley, was found beaten to death near the Savannah Country Club off President Street in May of 1994.

Best knew that whoever was capable of such a violent crime could likely strike again.

Tips from the community only helped that theory along.

“The witnesses we had, which in this case were great; they were full of information. Savannah still is a pretty close-knit community, especially the gay community. Somebody comes in from out of town...everybody knows about it,” Best said.

Bowles committed six murders altogether, and was eventually captured by law enforcement in November of 1994 after being put on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

The Savannah Police Department was actually the first to put out a warrant for Bowles’ arrest, linking him to a murder.

Bowles would be sentenced to death for the crimes - a punishment due to be carried out this Thursday in Florida.

“You might get out of this, out of the arrest and conviction, you might get what I term finality...some finality. The closure, you’re never going to have that," Best said.

In his time investigating other murder cases working with the department’s homicide unit over the years, Best said he’s never worked another case like his first.

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