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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Man Convicted in Fatal '90 Strangulation, Stabbing of Wife : Crime: Arthur C. Mangum, who faces life in prison, took out seven insurance policies worth more than $600,000 on his estranged spouse.

September 23, 1993|TIMOTHY WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FERNANDO — A Palmdale man who took out more than $600,000 in insurance on his estranged wife's life has been convicted of murdering her with special circumstances in 1990 by strangulation and stabbing after she married another man before filing for divorce.

Arthur C. Mangum, 46, had taken out seven insurance policies worth about $601,000 on his wife, Barbara Jean Bohn, 46, with the last policy within two months of her November, 1990, death, Deputy Dist. Atty. John Portillo said.

Mangum, a self-employed beverage manufacturer, was convicted Tuesday. He faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for murder with the special circumstance charges of killing for financial gain and for lying in wait to do it, Portillo said.

He will be sentenced Oct. 19.

There were no witnesses or physical evidence that directly tied Mangum to the crime, Portillo said. But the San Fernando Superior Court jury was swayed by the amount of circumstantial evidence and the possible motive of collecting the insurance money, he added.

"There were approximately 100 pieces of physical evidence and in the end, the jury simply did not believe his alibi," Portillo said.

Deputy Public Defender Roy Wallen, who represented Mangum, did not return phone calls.

Among the evidence introduced by the prosecution were pictures of the crime scene and receipts for latex gloves, binoculars, a pair of coveralls and a false goatee that prosecutors said Mangum used as a disguise.

Portillo also told the jury that receipts from a North Hollywood survivalist bookstore showed that Mangum purchased books he used as instructional guides for the killing--although the books and other items were never found.

"The murder was carefully planned and carried out," Portillo said. "She was garroted and stabbed very precisely, in a way she was sure to bleed to death very quickly . . . the bookstore sells books that tell how to do this."

During the four-week trial, Anthony Venegas, who leased a house from Mangum, testified that Mangum had asked him if he would kill Bohn and asked if he knew anyone who would kill her.

Bohn was found dead Nov. 21, 1990, in the hallway of a Palmdale home she used as an office for a mail order computer software company.

She had been strangled with a cord and stabbed twice in the neck. The murder weapon was never found and Mangum claimed that he was in the San Fernando Valley at the time, where he had visited two brickyards, bought a pair of slacks at a Northridge department store and ran into a friend at a restaurant.

Bohn operated the software firm with Daniel Bonachea, who she had secretly married in 1989--about a week before she separated from Mangum after a 4 1/2-year marriage.

Mangum never collected on the insurance policies. The insurance companies contacted police about the value of the policies after learning the cause of Bohn's death from the death certificate.

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