CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Raleigh County man convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife is appealing his case and asking for a new trial.
The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in the case of Christopher Wayne Bowling, 40, of Daniels, who was found guilty by a jury of killing his 34-year-old wife, Tresa Bowling Jan. 31, 2010.
Tresa Bowling was shot in the head. He contends that a gun in his back pocket discharged accidentally when he reached to adjust it as the two sat on their living room couch.
A mistrial was declared the first time prosecutors tried the case in April 2011, but a jury convicted Christopher Bowling at his second trial in July of that year.
His attorney, Richard Weston, appealed that conviction with the Supreme Court, saying jurors were allowed to hear testimony about Christopher Bowling's past behavior involving his wife and ex-wife.
On Tuesday, Weston reviewed his argument and told the justices he objected repeatedly to Raleigh Circuit Judge John Hutchison about some of that testimony from witnesses, but it was allowed. Instructions later read to those jurors about disregarding some of that testimony couldn't solve the issue, he said.
Weston said, "One witness said Tresa Bowling told her, "If I'm shot in my sleep, tell police it was no accident." "
"Nobody knows really what happened other than the victim and my client," Weston said. "All the other stuff is just dirty laundry."
"Another witness, a state trooper, said she told him in a bar allegedly that he had shot in her house," Weston said. "That is hard to defend."
Weston said Bowling, who chose not to testify, had his Fifth Amendment rights violated by some of the testimony about him.
He also said a gun expert wasn't allowed to testify fully on the condition of the gun, which he said was not in good working condition.
"There was not overwhelming evidence about any ill will or malice," Weston said.
Raleigh County Prosecutor Kristen Keller said the case was tried fairly and the conviction should stand.
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cher...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.