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Man Gets One Year for Helping Dump Girl's Body

Crime: The judge ignores an earlier plea deal in the sentencing of Roy Ashlock, one of six defendants linked to the 1998 stabbing death of Nichole Hendrix.


A Ventura man was sentenced to a year in Ventura County Jail and five years probation for helping his skinhead friends dump the body of a teenage girl in the Ventura County back country.

Roy Ashlock, 29, is one of six people linked to the slaying of 17-year-old Nichole Hendrix, who was fatally stabbed at a Ventura motel in 1998. Ashlock is expected to serve his sentence in a county work furlough program.

Ashlock pleaded guilty to felony charges of being an accessory to murder and of committing a crime to benefit a criminal street gang, even though he is not a member of the gang.

Defense attorney Philip Gunnels said his client did not know a body was in the trash can he threw over the ravine but that he is remorseful and asks forgiveness.

But the victim's mother, Shelly Holland, said she could not forgive him. "Mr. Ashlock knew that odor was the smell of a body, my daughter's body," she said. "My family has gone through hell for what Mr. Ashlock did to my daughter."

Loren Holland said his sister's death has made his life miserable. "They do know how deeply they have torn a close family apart," he said.

Ashlock was indicted by a grand jury in August and pleaded guilty the next month, after cutting a deal with the district attorney's office. Prosecutors told the defendant he wouldn't be sentenced to more than two months in jail.

But Judge Art Gutierrez decided not to honor that commitment.

Gutierrez reprimanded Ashlock for hanging out with gang members, participating in the crime and not telling police what he knew sooner. Authorities investigated the case for two years before making any arrests.

"Mr. Ashlock, what you did was stupid," Gutierrez said. "It was criminal."

The judge did praise Ashlock for eventually cooperating with prosecutors and testifying truthfully in front of the grand jury.

Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Bamieh said Ashlock's cooperation helped prosecutors get indictments against other suspects. But he stressed that Ashlock did take part in the crime and was close friends with the gang members now charged with killing Hendrix.

"I think he knew exactly what he was doing," Bamieh said, adding that Ashlock wore gloves to dump the body. "What he did was horrendous."

Gunnels told the judge that his client had nothing to do with the killing and that his friends duped him into getting involved. He asked the judge to impose probation and no jail time.

Gunnels also said that since pleading guilty, Ashlock and his family have received threats. "Mr. Ashlock is stepping out as far as he can to help the Hollands bring closure to this case," he said.

Vicki Carbajal said outside the courtroom that prosecutors lied when they said her son would only serve a month or two in jail. She said Ashlock is a good boy and was just scared to tell police what he knew. "My son's being punished for protecting us," she said.

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