ABERDEEN, Miss.–Dwight Bowling was once a celebrated high school football coach in Mississippi and Alabama, but in 2011 he pleaded guilty to repeatedly violating the trust that his students and their parents put in him by molesting and raping football players in both states. Now he has filed an appeal for his 25-year prison sentence.
In 2011 Bowling fired his lawyer, Christy McCoy, so she did not, under his instructions, file an appeal of the sentence within the 14 days allotted. That caused a lot of problems because Bowling ended up missing his chance for appeal when the deadline passed. .
But a federal judge ruled that since McCoy was a court-appointed attorney, she could not be fired by Bowling and she should have continued to act on his behalf until the court said otherwise.
So Bowling got the opportunity again to file his appeal, and he did Thursday.
He says the judge gave him too harsh a sentence and that it went beyond federal guidelines, which should have been somewhere around 150 months.
If the court rules in favor of Bowling in his appeal, his sentence could potentially be reduced from 25 years to 12.