Guilty plea in Port Angeles strangulation death

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) - A Port Angeles man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the October 2011 strangulation death of a 27-year-old developmentally disabled woman.

The Peninsula Daily News reports that 23-year-old Kevin Bradfield entered his plea Wednesday in the death of Jennifer Pimentel.

Sentencing is set for March 5. Prosecution and defense are recommending a 20-year term.

Bradfield told police he strangled Pimentel in his girlfriend's apartment, then disposed of her body in a wooded area near the Hood Canal Bridge.

He killed her to prevent her from accusing him of rape, according to evidence in the case. Bradfield made that claim in a letter he sent to a family member in Oregon, according to a supplemental statement of probable cause filed in the case. Investigators managed to intercept the letter sent from the Clallam County Jail.

His girlfriend, Kendell Huether, is charged with rendering criminal assistance and witness tampering. The couple eventually led authorities to Pimentel's body.

The two suspects initially claimed Pimentel had accidentally fallen down some steps in the home 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.

Public defender Loren Oakley says Bradfield is also developmentally disabled. Oakley says a recent mental evaluation showed the defendant's disability did not rise to the level of insanity or diminished capacity.