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THREE CHARGED IN 1997 SLAYING POLICE SAY TRIO CONSPIRED TO KILL.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

LANCASTER - A 24-year-old woman who was 16 when her boyfriend was beaten and shot to death in their Lancaster apartment bedroom has been charged in his murder.

A man already is serving a life sentence in prison for the 1997 slaying of 21-year-old electrician Ricky Cowles Jr., but prosecutors have filed murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges against Amy Preasmyer and two other people.

Preasmyer had told investigators that she arrived home an hour after the murder and found the victim lying in their bedroom, shot in the head.

``It appears that Preasmyer was Cowles' girlfriend,'' Deputy District Attorney Robert Foltz said. ``She was apparently angry.''

Because Preasmyer was a minor at the time of the killing, her case will first be heard in Juvenile Court where a judge will determine whether she's fit to be tried as an adult.

Preasmyer; Jennifer Kellogg, 25, who lived with Preasmyer and Cowles in the Gadsden Avenue apartment; and David Asbury, 27, have been charged with murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait.

They were arrested Wednesday.

William Hoffman, a former store clerk, was sentenced in October 1999 to life in prison without parole, plus 10 years, for using a claw hammer and a gun to ambush and murder Cowles on Aug. 12, 1997.

``Hoffman was the actual killer. The allegations are that Hoffman was solicited by Preasmyer and conspired with Preasmyer, Kellogg and Asbury for the commission of the crime. Therefore that makes them all principals in the the actual murder,'' Foltz said.

At the time of Hoffman's trial, prosecutors never established a clear motive for the killing. Hoffman did not know Cowles, a young electrician who worked for his family's business, and officials said at the time that he may have been persuaded by someone else to kill Cowles.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Hoffman told them he killed Cowles for Cowles' girlfriend, but she denied having anything to do with his death.

Hoffman, who was arrested in April 1998, told several people within days of Cowles' slaying that he had committed the crime, officials said. Those witnesses waited months before telling authorities.

Cowles, who worked in his father's electrical contracting business, did not know Hoffman, but the men had mutual friends, officials had said.

Sheriff's deputies said the killer was waiting for Cowles inside his apartment in the 43400 block of Gadsden Avenue. Cowles arrived shortly after 9 p.m., after working late fixing lights at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

Family members and detectives said nothing inside the home had been touched or taken, and there was no obvious sign of forced entry.

With detectives stymied by a lack of cooperation of witnesses, the victim's family offered a $10,000 reward to anyone giving information leading to the arrest of the killer.

Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744

karen.maeshiro(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:480
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