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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | West County / Ventura

2nd Defendant Pleads Guilty in Girl's Death

November 07, 2000|TRACY WILSON

A second defendant charged in the brutal 1998 stabbing death of 17-year-old Ventura teen Nichole Hendrix has pleaded guilty.

James Bowman of Ventura, a 21-year-old white-power gang member, admitted in court Monday to disposing of the girl's body and later lying to a grand jury about his role in the killing.

Bowman pleaded guilty to perjury, being an accessory to murder and being an active participant in a criminal street gang during the crimes. He faces more than four years in state prison, though he could receive less, prosecutors said.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 19.

Six suspects were indicted by the grand jury in August in connection with Hendrix's slaying Oct. 16, 1998.

According to transcripts of those proceedings, Hendrix was fatally stabbed in a Ventura motel room by skinhead gang member David Ziesmer, who mistakenly believed that she had told police he had committed a crime.

Hendrix was ordered to sit in a bathtub and begged her friend, Bridget Callahan, for help. But transcripts show her pleas were ignored.

Ziesmer admitted to the grand jury that he stabbed Hendrix several times in the chest and neck with a pocket knife. Transcripts show he also admitted wrapping Hendrix's body in motel bedding and driving around with it in the back of a truck for several days.

Later, the group put Hendrix's body in a trash can and filled it with cement, transcripts show. After being arrested on unrelated charges, Ziesmer called Bowman from jail and asked him to get rid of the body, according to the transcripts.

Bowman, Callahan and another friend, Roy Ashlock, allegedly drove to a remote area in the mountains above Ojai and dumped the trash can into a ravine. Hendrix's remains amid crumbled cement were found six months later.

Ziesmer, 27, Callahan, 28, and Michael Bridgeford, 24, have been charged with murder. None have entered pleas. Ziesmer's girlfriend, Kellie Rangel, 30, has been charged with perjury and also has not entered a plea.

Ashlock, 28, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy. His sentencing is set for February.

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