Port Angeles man takes 20 years in Pimentel slaying
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Kevin A. Bradfield of Port Angeles enters Clallam County Superior Court on Wednesday. He agreed to a plea deal to avoid a jury trial.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A 23-year-old man charged in the October 2011 strangulation death of Jennifer Pimentel pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree premeditated murder.

Kevin A. Bradfield of Port Angeles will be sentenced March 5 in Clallam County Superior Court.

Bradfield will serve 20 years in prison for killing the 27-year-old developmentally disabled woman, according to a sentence recommended to the judge by prosecutors and his defense attorney.

Bradfield could have faced a life sentence had he been convicted by a jury at his trial, which was set for Feb. 4.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. March 5.

Newly sworn-in Clallam County Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer accepted Bradfield's guilty plea after asking him a litany of questions about whether he understood the ramifications.

“Yes, your honor,” Bradfield repeatedly said.

Instead of making a statement of guilt, Bradfield referred the court to the Port Angeles police report in which he admitted he strangled Pimentel in his girlfriend's apartment then disposed of her body in a wooded area near the Hood Canal Bridge.

Rohrer said the statement of probable cause was sufficient for making a factual basis for the guilty plea.

The judge also determined that Bradfield's guilty plea “was made knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently.”

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly, who was filling in for deputy prosecutor Ann Lundwall, said the plea agreement includes three years of community custody, standard financial obligations and restitution.

Kelly said the state also will request a pre-sentencing investigation.

Defense attorney Loren Oakley of Clallam Public Defender said Bradfield will decline to be interviewed for the pre-sentencing report “because it's his right.”

Bradfield's girlfriend, Kendell K. Huether, is charged with rendering criminal assistance to Bradfield and two counts of witness tampering for allegedly asking two acquaintances to lie about seeking Pimentel alive after her disappearance on Oct. 9, 2011.

The couple led authorities to Pimentel's remains on Oct. 19, 2011.

Huether, 26, has a trial set for Feb. 25 and a status hearing at 1 p.m. today.

Bradfield, who is developmentally disabled, had a recent mental evaluation that found his disability did not rise to the level of insanity or diminished capacity, Oakley has said.

Pimentel and Huether had been childhood friends and first met in a special-needs class in school, said Henry Pimentel, Jennifer's father, said in an Oct. 23 interview.

Bradfield told authorities that Pimentel had gone to Kent with an unknown man but later admitted he had strangled Pimentel in Huether's apartment while Huether stood by.

Bradfield was originally charged with second-degree murder, but Lundwall raised the charge to first-degree premeditated murder last April after a corrections officer intercepted a jailhouse letter from Bradfield.

The letter indicated that Bradfield “planned to murder Pimentel to prevent her from accusing Bradfield of rape,” court documents said.

Delays with DNA tests and mental evaluations scratched previous trial dates of Dec. 5, 2011, March 5, 2012 and May 21, 2012.



Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 16. 2013 6:11PM
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