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Trial starts next month for 2013 attack of Martin County taxi driver

Timothy Bowker speaks to WPTV on Sept. 27, 2021.jpg
Posted at 4:43 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 18:52:34-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — He was a taxi cab driver known for helping others and giving affordable, even free rides at times to people who needed it.

Timothy Bowker, or "Taxi Tim," was brutally attacked in 2013 in Jensen Beach. Now eight years later, his case and accused attackers are finally going to trial.

The State Attorney's Office can’t detail everything that made this case take so long to go to trial, but it’s incredibly rare to see a trial take this long to get underway, now scheduled for next month.

Bowker said he’s ready to get this behind him and hold someone accountable for not only threatening his life, but ending his dream career.

Outside of Bowker's home, you’re likely to find his rottweiler, Sheeba, doing her job, helping Tim feel safe.

"She’s my better half in life right now. Nothing but pure love from her," Bowker said.

He’s a Desert Storm veteran who struggled with PTSD. But after serving in the military and struggling to find a career he loved, he started his own taxi driving business.

In 2013, he had grown his business to five taxis and landed a reputation in Martin County as "Taxi Tim," a guy anyone could trust for a safe ride home.

"Martin County Police Department used to call me and say, hey Tim, we got somebody we’ve gotta give a DUI. They have no money. Would you give them a free ride home? Yes, I'll give them a free ride home. I was very giving," Bowker said.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said attackers took advantage of his kindness. He was robbed and stabbed a dozen times outside a Jensen Beach Cumberland Farms, breaking facial bones and nearly killing him.

"You can see the head, you see the scars, the neck and the back of the head," Bowker said.

Today he’s still left with partial blindness and a long-term brain injury and a fear of being hurt again, something Sheeba helps him manage.

But because of his injuries, his taxi driving days are done.

"Which was my heart, my soul, and my dream," Bowker said.

Investigators quickly arrested three people including Lawrence Flood Jr., pegged as the primary attacker.

John Ciluffo and Nicholas Monaco are accused of driving and helping plan the robbery.

Since their arrest, court records show four changes in attorneys and many continuances over the eight years, which could have contributed to some delays.

"There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t think about it. I just had to wait. I’m glad that it’s coming to court. I want full justice," Bowker said.

Bowker is eager to get the trial underway.

"I think the minimum should be life," Bowker said.

A key in his ongoing recovery to feel safe and find new passions and purpose beyond his taxi driving days.

"There’s too many good things to live for in life than to live in a negative world," Bowker said.

The trial is set for Oct. 25.