WIQI News

A man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison in the killing of a northwest Indiana woman who was strangled and dumped in a rural hunting shack.

A Newton County judge sentenced Garrett Kirts, 22, on Monday. The Lebanon man had pleaded guilty in September to murder in the March 2019 slaying of Nicole Bowen, 30.

Kirts told the judge he and co-defendant Ashley Garth conspired to get Bowen, of West Lafayette, to a Newton County trailer where she was killed, the Journal & Courier reported.

Kirts had said during his September plea hearing that “everybody in the trailer” knew what was going to happen when he brought Bowen to the trailer.

According to court documents, Kirts told police he and Garth strangled Bowen before wrapping her in a blanket. Kirts then allegedly drove to a rural area where Bowen’s body was found the next day in a hunting shack.

Garth has a pretrial conference in her murder case scheduled for Jan. 27 after she withdrew from an earlier plea agreement. According to court documents, Garth considered Bowen “a rival and an enemy because she was the other woman in Kirts’ life.”

Kirts has said he intended to kill Bowen for allegedly revealing a methamphetamine operation he was involved with. Three other people have been charged in connection with Bowen’s killing.

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