New charges for suspect in fatal assault

Local News

A suspect in a fatal assault last week in Milan now faces new charges – including first-degree murder.

Rock Island County Jail officials said Ward F. Davis, 38, of Milan, now faces felony charges of first-degree murder and attempted aggravated arson. The charges were filed Friday in Rock Island County Court.

Davis was being held on $250,000 bond in Rock Island County Jail, where he now has a bond of $1 million, according to Rock Island Court records.

Ward Davis (contributed photo)

The incident

Shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17, Milan Police responded to the 700 block of Hillcrest Road for a report of a woman with head injuries who was lying in the roadway, according to a news release from the Milan Police Department.  

She was transported by ambulance from the scene and was in critical care, the release said. The caller also reported a gas can on fire in the laundry room of Pineview Apartments. A suspect had left the area, police say.

Julie Bowser was identified as the victim. Lisa Bowser, her sister, told Local 4 News her sister passed away at 6:51 p.m. Wednesday at St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria.

Julie Bowser (contributed photo)

A family is devastated

Lisa Bowser can’t believe how her sister was taken away from her family.

“She was attacked from behind from her neighbor with a hammer,” said Lisa Bowser.

According to Lisa, the incident happened at the Pineview Apartments in Milan. Julie had moved to the complex three months ago. Soon after, she met a new neighbor.

“She befriended him at first because she’s neighborly and friendly and then he just started stalking her and harassing her. She had told the landlord twice about him,” said Lisa Bowser.

Things quickly took a turn when Julie’s family found information online about her neighbor, Ward Davis.

“His uncle told her to stay away from him because he’s a bad guy. She told that to my mother on Monday and then my mom called me and I looked him up on the internet and found all this stuff about him,” said Lisa Bowser.

On Monday morning, Lisa and her mom made the difficult decision to let doctors take Julie off oxygen.

Julie Bowser is survived by a daughter, two sons, eight grandchildren, her mother, brother and sister, Lisa told Local 4 News.

Davis is set to appear in Rock Island County Court on Oct. 5 for a preliminary hearing.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories