RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – One of three men given a life sentence in prison when a store owner in Brown Summit died after being shot during an armed robbery in 1992 could earn parole.

Shashane Didario Chambers, then 19, was one of three men charged with second-degree murder when Ed Bowman died five months after he was shot while trying to protect his sister outside their grocery on NC 150.

Shashane Didario Chambers (NCDPS)

The North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced it is considering Chambers, now 50, for parole under a program for crimes committed before Oct. 1, 1994, when state sentencing law changed.

Steven O’Brian Alexander and Kenneth Rayfield Neal also had been in jail since Bowman was shot in the abdomen protecting his sister Jean on Nov. 14, 1992, the News & Record reported.

Bowman lingered in and out of consciousness but never spoke after the shooting, his sister Kathleen Bowman told the N&R, before dying on May 4, 1993.

Chambers told investigators that he had committed the robbery because he was “strapped for cash” and “had bills to pay,” the N&R reported.

Chambers, 50, perhaps could have been charged with first-degree murder, but he agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and two other charges. He was sentenced in Guilford County Superior Court on Aug. 22, 1994, to 40 years consecutively for robbery with a dangerous weapon and 10 years for conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

He also pleaded guilty to four prior charges that were consolidated for sentencing: two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon on Nov. 4, 1991, for which he received 14 years consecutively, and two counts of larceny of more than $200 and felony breaking and entering on Dec. 16, 1991, for which he served 4 years concurrently of a 10-year sentence.

Just before Superior Court Judge Thomas Ross sentenced him, the N&R reported, Chambers apologized to the Bowman family. “I am truly sorry for what happened. I did not mean for Mr. Bowman to get shot,” the newspaper reported him as saying.

2 others plead, too

Steven O. Alexander (NC DPS)

Alexander, 51, whose nickname is Casper, pleaded guilty to the same three charges and received the same sentence on Aug. 25, 1994. He also pleaded guilty to earlier charges and has a much longer record for incarceration on crimes in Stokes and Surry counties. He remains jailed at the Orange Correctional Center in Hillsborough, the same place where Chambers is being held.

Neal, 52, who was the driver of the car that took the three men to the store, also pleaded guilty to the murder and weapons charges plus breaking-and-entering vehicles. He was sentenced on Aug. 25, 1994, to the same term as Chambers and Alexander, but he was paroled on Feb. 13, 2012, and served five years of probation, which expired in 2017.

North Carolina abolished parole in cases involving murder and rape as of Oct. 1, 1994, and the commission is charged with considering parole for offenders who were sentenced under guidelines before that date. The commission sometimes seeks public comment on whether that parole should be granted.

Chambers is being considered for release through the commission’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which is a scholastic and vocational process that is completed and reviewed in a three-way agreement among the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender. That process can take years.

Chambers has 15 listed infractions, but none since 2010. Two were for a sexual act, but the rest were minor.

The MAPP program

To be approved for release under MAPP, an inmate must show a desire to improve educational and training programs and a self-improvement process. There is a 3-year walk-up to release that, the MAPP website states, requires the inmate:

  • To be in medium or minimum custody.
  • Not to be subject to a detainer or pending court action that could result in further confinement.
  • To be infraction-free for a period of 90 days before being recommended.
  • If sentenced under the Fair Sentencing Act, to be eligible for 270-day parole or community-service parole.

The program also stipulates that “there should be a recognizable need on the part of the inmate for involvement in the MAPP program and the inmate should express a desire to participate in improving educational achievements, learning skills, personal growth programs and modifying specific behavior.”

If you have questions concerning this matter, contact the commission at (919) 716–3010.