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'Sugar daddy' testifies in driver's trial

Posted: 6:54 PM, Apr 06, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-07 13:04:21-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — The self-proclaimed “sugar daddy” of a Cincinnati woman accused of driving while on Xanax when she hit a utility truck last spring, causing a fatal West Chester Twp. crash, denied he provided the drug to the former stripper.

Michele Schuster, 24, poured water, looked down at her nails and at the jury, but not at Kevin Bowman, during his testimony on day three of her Butler County trial.

Bowman, who declined to be photographed by media in the courtroom during testimony, said he met Schuster while she was working at a strip club in Dayton.

Defense Attorney Lawrence Hawkins maintains the Sidney man drugged Schuster’s drink on April 22, 2015, when he met her at a West Chester Twp. restaurant, then drove to Voice of America Park, where they smoked marijuana and ate burritos from Chipotle.

The prosecution maintains Schuster was impaired by un-prescribed medication that she willingly ingested when she slammed into the utility truck, killing Amber Rooks and seriously injuring three others.

Bowman was called to the stand Wednesday afternoon and admitted to giving Schuster “thousands of dollars” and taking her shopping during their 1½-year relationship. In exchange, she performed sex acts on him, he said.

“It was more like a favor or sugar daddy thing,” Bowman said during testimony.

He said he first met Schuster when she was a dancer at the Harem, a strip club in Dayton.

At times, Bowman said he tipped Schuster $150 to $200 for private dances.

Eventually, he began seeing Schuster outside of the strip club, taking her to dinner, shopping and giving her money for bills. He got sex in return, he said.

Bowman’s serious health issues led to him being hospitalized last year. On April 22, 2015, Bowman said he was going to a doctor’s appointment at West Chester Hospital and made arrangements to meet up with Schuster.

“I had to meet with her and tell her I had to stop seeing her. My wife found out about it,” Bowman said.

The two met at Chipotle off Tylerville Road, where Schuster went in and purchased food with money Bowman gave her. She parked her car there and they drove to VOA park in Bowman’s truck, he said.

There, they ate the food, drank a Coke and smoked a joint, Bowman said.

“I took her back (to Chipotle) and dropped her off,” Bowman said. “She said she was tired.”

Bowman, who admitted he had a prescription for Xanax, said he did not give Schuster Xanax, nor did he mix it in her drink or in her food. He said Schuster had stolen Xanax from him in the past.

But during cross examination, the defense questioned why he sent a text message to Schuster saying “cold drink!!” before their meeting.

“It was just cold drink. I had a Coke in the car,” Bowman said.

Bowman admitted to wanting more of a sexual relationship from Schuster and also that he had had sexual relationships with other women in the past.

“So you have been unfaithful … dishonest to your wife,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins asked Bowman if he understood that if it was determined someone had provided Schuster with Xanax before the crash that person could be criminally responsible.

Bowman answered, “Yes.”

Since the crash, Bowman said he has been in touch with Schuster and even sent her money.

“I was just a big sucker is what I was. She said she was starving, had no place to stay, no cigarettes,” Bowman said, adding she told him she did not tell police that he had drugged her.

“Like a fool, I believed her,” he said.

A forensic toxicologist also testified Wednesday that blood taken from Schuster at the hospital tested positive for Xanax, but negative for other drugs, including the date rape drug GHB.