Domestic Violence Defendant Sentenced on Misdemeanor Charges for Starting Fire in Apartment

Exactly two years after he was initially charged with arson, a domestic violence defendant was sentenced for three misdemeanor charges.

“I first want to start off by apologizing,” Clarence Bowler said when given the opportunity to address the court. “I put a lot of people at harm because I reacted.”

Bowler punched the victim, a romantic partner, in the face before starting the fire, according to DC Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz

“You probably have experienced or seen or witnessed domestic violence in your own life,” Judge Leibovitz told the defendant, urging him not to let the cyclical effects of such violence continue.

On April 7, Bowler pleaded down from the felony arson charge to simple assault, attempted threats to do bodily harm and destruction of property less than $1,000. He was sentenced the next day.

Defense attorney Joseph Yarbough noted that his client has no prior convictions, was compliant with his pretrial release conditions and expressed sincere remorse for his actions.

“I appreciate Mr. Bowler has accepted responsibility,” Judge Leibovitz said. She sentenced the defendant to 90 days for the simple assault and attempted threats to do bodily harm charges and 180 days for the destruction of property charge. All three sentences were suspended.

The prosecutor wanted Bowler to spend time on probation so he can demonstrate that his compliance with court orders was not just for the sake of putting his case behind him. Bowler will spend one year on supervised probation on the conditions that he participates in a domestic violence intervention program and refrains from harassing, assaulting, threatening or stalking the victim.