Sunday, October 31, 2004

Woman shot in sister's Price Hill apt. dies


Police seek man charged with aggravated murder

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

WEST PRICE HILL - Cincinnati police Saturday continued searching for the man they believe ambushed and shot two women in a Cedarwood Manor apartment Friday evening.

Stephanie Bowling, 20, died early Saturday, making her the city's 61st homicide victim of the year.

Andre Bell, a 32-year-old black man who is described as 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds with braided hair, is wanted on charges of aggravated murder and felonious assault. He should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous," police say.

Bell was dating 20-year-old Cassandra Jent, and living with her in the apartment before the shooting. Jent was shot once in the head but suffered only a superficial wound. She was treated and released from University Hospital.

An affidavit filed with Hamilton County Court says Bell was hiding in a bedroom closet when the women came home to the apartment in the 3700 block of Westmont Drive. Bell burst out of the closet wearing rubber gloves and carrying a handgun when the women entered the bedroom. He shot Bowling once in the wrist and three times in the stomach, before grabbing Jent around the neck and shooting her in the head, according to the affidavit.

Bowling's longtime boyfriend, Kevin Benford, said Jent and Bell had just moved into the apartment together a few days ago. But Jent decided earlier Friday to break up with Bell and told him he would have to find a new place to live.

"My girl (Bowling) just wanted to see her apartment," said Benford, who has three children with Bowling, ages 4 months, 1 year and 5 years. "Stephanie went in with Cassie to make sure she was OK. Her brother was waiting in the car with the kids. She was supposed to give him a signal that everything was OK for the kids to come in."

Benford said Bell turned the stereo on loudly before the shootings occurred.

Court records show Bell was charged with domestic violence in 1996 and 1997. He had a probation violation in 2002 after skipping out on a five-year probation sentence related to the 1997 charge. Bell also has convictions for assault, drug charges and disorderly conduct.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cincinnati Police Criminal Investigations Section at 352-3542.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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