R I C H M O N D, Va., July 13, 2001 -- Former heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe could face up to two years in prison for kidnapping and assaulting his estranged wife in 1998 after a federal appeals court today rejected a lighter sentence handed down last year by a North Carolina judge.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a trial court erred in considering Bowe's diminished mental capacity from beatings sustained in the ring when handing down the sentence. The trial court was ordered to either impose an 18- to 24-monthprison sentence mandated by a plea agreement with federalprosecutors or take the case to trial.
"This matter is remanded with instructions that thedistrict court determine whether Bowe's guilty plea should beset aside, or whether he should be required to comply with hisagreement not to seek or argue for a departure from thesentencing guidelines," a three-judge panel for the appeals court in Richmond said.
Pleaded Guilty to Abducting, Stabbing Wife
The 6-foot 5-inch, 260-pound retiredboxer pleaded guilty in June 1998 to abducting histhen-estranged wife, Judy Bowe, and the couple's five childrenfrom their home near Charlotte, N.C., in February1998 in an attempt to reconcile with his family.
According to prosecutors, Bowe stabbed Judy Bowe in thebreast with a knife and threatened to kill her if he caught herwith another man as he drove his family from North Carolinatoward his home in suburban Maryland.
Police stopped Bowe in South Hill, Va., near the NorthCarolina-Virginia border, after his wife alerted two women in aMcDonald's restaurant restroom that she was being kidnapped.
Departing from terms of the plea agreement, a federal courtin Charlotte in February 2000 sentenced Bowe to 30 days inprison. He also was ordered to seek treatment for impulsivebehavior stemming from brain damage suffered during 250 amateurand professional bouts, and not to box while on probation.
Bowe defeated Evander Holyfield in November 1992 to win theundisputed world heavyweight title, only to lose the title toHolyfield a year later. He retired from boxing after a brutalfight in December 1996 with Andrew Golota, who was ahead onpoints but disqualified for punching below the belt.
Bowe was jailed briefly in February for allegedly violatingterms of his probation by assaulting his new wife and a nephewin three separate incidents in Maryland and New York.
Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment onthe status of the his probation.