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2 Accused of Killing Teen Will Be Tried

Hearing reveals a rift between the suspects over who fired the fatal shot. Redlands student Kelly Bullwinkle was killed in a love triangle.

February 21, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A woman charged with murdering Redlands college student Kelly Bullwinkle, allegedly shot in a love triangle, is having second thoughts about her codefendant's claim that the shooting was accidental, her attorney said.

The rift between the suspects surfaced during a Friday preliminary hearing in which a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to try Kinzie Noordman, 20, and Damien Guerrero, 19, for the Sept. 13 slaying.

After the preliminary hearing, Noordman's attorney, Richard A. Leonard, said that his client now questions Guerrero's contention that the shooting started out as a joke, and that he only meant to scare Bullwinkle with the gun. Guerrero and Bullwinkle, a 19-year-old college freshman, had been romantically involved briefly.

"Kinzie has agreed with me when I've told her, 'You don't know what he was thinking when that gun went off -- if it was accidental or planned,' " Leonard said. "Who knows?"

Noordman and Guerrero both allegedly shot Bullwinkle, but dispute which one fired the fatal shot.

Dr. Frank Sheridan, the county's chief medical examiner, testified that an autopsy showed that Bullwinkle was shot twice in the head. The shot that killed Bullwinkle was fired downward, entering behind her right ear, and the other only grazed the left side of her head, Sheridan said.

Sheridan said he could not determine if the fatal shot was fired first or second, but testified that the nonfatal shot would not have knocked Bullwinkle to the ground unless it was a reaction to being startled.

According to police, Guerrero and Noordman told friends and family before their arrests in November that Guerrero fired the first shot at Bullwinkle, knocking her to the ground and leaving her gasping for air. Noordman, who had lured Bullwinkle to the location, fired the second shot, telling her boyfriend in a police-wiretapped telephone conversation that she wanted to end Bullwinkle's suffering, police said.

The two buried Bullwinkle in a shallow grave they had dug a day earlier, drove Bullwinkle's car to the Ontario Mills mall parking lot and then watched a movie and ate dinner at a restaurant, police said. Bullwinkle's badly decomposed body was found in October.

"There's no doubt [Bullwinkle] was dead when she hit the ground, when the second shot came," Leonard said. "I don't know what the charge against Kinzie should be -- maybe accessory to murder -- but it certainly shouldn't be murder."

Guerrero's attorney declined to discuss the case after the hearing.

Elody Romero, Guerrero's girlfriend, was the first to testify. She described how she had learned Guerrero had been having a physical relationship with Bullwinkle. Romero said she confronted Guerrero about his relationship with Bullwinkle during the summer.

Redlands police have alleged that Guerrero was angry with Bullwinkle because she would not accept that their brief affair had ended.

Guerrero told Romero he accidentally shot Bullwinkle first, then "freaked out," leaving Noordman to shoot Bullwinkle again as Bullwinkle was "just laying there and not moving," Romero recounted.

Guerrero and Noordman are to be arraigned March 2.

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