New murder charge filed in killing of West Lafayette woman

Prosecutors said Ashley Garth played a role in the death of Nicole Bowen.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 12:44 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2019 3:12 PM

KENTLAND, Ind. (WLFI) — A woman has been charged with murder in the death of a West Lafayette woman found dead in Newton County. Prosecutors said Ashley Garth played a role in the death of Nicole Bowen.

Garth, 27 of Delphi, is being charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and assisting a criminal.


Nicole Bowen

Bowen's body was found on March 30 in the area of County Road 1275 South, just east of County Road 600 West near Kentland.

Garth claimed Bowen was a "rival and enemy" because she was involved in a sexual relationship with her boyfriend, Garret Kirts. Court documents said Bowen and Garth got into a fight over Kirts in a Kentland trailer home. Prosecutors said Kirts then grabbed Bowen around the neck and strangled her to death. Bowen was bound with tape, cord and a blanket, according to court documents.

Prosecutors now say Garth helped Kirts, in several ways, kill Bowen. Kirts claimed Garth helped him with the extension cord used, she initiated the fight and she had her arm around Bowen's throat until Kirts could get his arm around Bowen's neck. DNA analysis found Bowen's nail scrapings on Garth's hands.

Court documents also say Garth helped Kirts tape Bowen's body up and dispose of it.  

Garth is one of five people facing some kind of charges in Bowen's death.

Kirts is facing a charge of murder. Jasmine Parker, 35 of Kentland, pleaded guilty to assisting a criminal and being a habitual offender. Prosecutors say she was in the home at the time of the argument. Talitha Beckley, 37 of Monticello, was also in the home that night. She and Christopher Mathis, 28 of Kentland, are both charged with assisting a criminal. 

Related: Friend mourns loss of woman killed in Newton County

Bowen was a graduate of Harrison High School and had two children. 

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