More hearings likely in Port Angeles strangulation case

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County Superior Court Judge has scheduled an April 25 hearing on a recently completed pre-sentencing investigation for Kevin A. Bradfield, a Port Angeles man who pleaded guilty to the October 2011 murder of Jennifer Pimentel.

Bradfield, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in January for the strangulation death of the 27-year-old developmentally disabled woman.

His March 3 sentencing was postponed because the state Department of Corrections had not completed a court-ordered pre-sentencing investigation, or PSI.

Response to report

“We have received the PSI,” said Loren Oakley, Bradfield's public defender, in a Thursday court hearing. “We're working on a response to it.”

Bradfield may be sentenced April 25, depending on whether Oakley disputes the facts contained in the pre-sentencing report and how many witnesses are called to the stand, Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall said.

“We'll have to see how it goes,” Oakley said in a later interview. “We have some disputes with the PSI.”

Oakley and Lundwall told Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood that they had other matters scheduled for April 25.

“I think this takes priority,” Wood said. “We'll just make one judge available to make sure this is done and everybody's aware it's going to happen on that day.”

The two-hour “real facts” hearing will begin at 9 a.m., Wood ordered.

20 years in prison

Under the terms of a plea deal that Oakley and Lundwall struck, Bradfield will serve 20 years in prison, with credit for time served.

A judge has the authority to impose a longer sentence than the recommended term.

Bradfield awaits his sentencing in the Clallam County jail.

Port Angeles police said Bradfield strangled Pimentel in a Port Angeles apartment and left her remains in a wooded area near the Hood Canal Bridge.

His then-girlfriend, Kendell K. Huether, agreed to plead guilty to rendering criminal assistance for helping Bradfield hide the body.

Huether maintains her innocence on two counts of witness tampering for allegedly asking two acquaintances after Pimentel's death to lie about seeing Pimentel leave the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival with an unknown man.

Huether's trial is scheduled for April 22.

Court papers

Court papers said Bradfield and Huether initially claimed Pimentel accidentally fell down some steps and died from a broken neck.

They said they panicked and decided to fabricate a story about Pimentel having run off with an unknown man.

Bradfield and Huether led authorities to Pimentel's remains 10 days after her disappearance.

Bradfield originally was charged with second-degree murder, but Lundwall raised the charge to first-degree premeditated murder after a corrections officer intercepted a letter from Bradfield that indicated he “planned to murder Pimentel to prevent her from accusing Bradfield of rape,” court papers said.

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

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

Last modified: April 11. 2013 10:52PM
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