OKANOGAN – An arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of first-degree murder in the death of his sister-in-law.

The warrant was issued Dec. 22, 2020, for Joseph Nathanael Bowers, 28. Okanogan County Superior Court documents list him as homeless and the state argued he is a flight risk.

He was re-charged Dec. 8 with first-degree murder in the death of Angela Marie Bowers, 38, in June 2019.

Bowers initially was charged Nov. 27, 2019, with first-degree murder in Angela Bowers’ death.

Her body was found in the trunk of a burning vehicle in Aeneas Valley on June 3. 2019. Charging was delayed until November 2019 while DNA evidence was tested to determine the identity of the person in the trunk.

Joseph Bowers’ brother, Lance Robert Bowers, 38, also is charged in the death.

The charge against Joseph Bowers was dismissed March 2, 2020, without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled. Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney Arian Noma said the two were on different trial tracks because charges against the two men were filed at different times.

Speedy trial considerations came into play for Joseph Bowers, while COVID-19 intervened in the discovery portion of Lance Bowers’ case. The latter’s attorney was not able to interview witnesses in person, said Noma.

On Dec. 9, 2020, Noma filed a motion to join the men’s cases for trial.

“The defendants are currently charged in two separate cases that involve the same decedent, murder weapon, witnesses, involve the same crimes, elements of those offenses, and evidence,” said the filing. “The only question is the depth of each co-defendant’s involvement in murdering the decedent.”

Judicial economy is best served by trying the matters at the same time, Noma argued. Both cases involve the same evidence and witnesses; neither defendant is set for trial at this time.

On Dec. 21, 2020, amended charges were filed against Lance Bowers. He is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree reckless burning, theft of a firearm, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and two counts of first-degree assault with a firearm or deadly weapon.

Lance Bowers faced charges of assault and other crimes before his wife’s body was found in the burned remains of his vehicle. The murder charge was filed later, and the court subsequently allowed the cases to be joined.

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