KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Michaele Bowers entered a plea of voluntary manslaughter in relation to the killing of popular J's Place chef Ray Ingram in 2017. She will serve a term of six years in the prison.
The plea comes after a jury was unable to reach a verdict in two prior jury trials.
Court documents show that Bowers and Ingram had a child together and Bowers found out Ingram had been seeing another woman. Documents also showed that he had a child with the other woman as well. The morning of the killing police said that Bowers texted Ingram a picture of a receipt showing he had purchased two sets of Valentine's gifts, essentially the same gift for each woman.
When police arrived on the scene they found the deceased Ingram who had been shot in the neck by Bowers while he was attempting to retrieve his things from their shared home. Bowers was arrested and charged with murder.
This case was brought to trial twice, on both occasions, the jury was unable to reach a decision and deadlocked. At each trial, there was disputed evidence regarding past domestic violence between Bowers and the victim.
During one trial, prosecutor John Allen played a recording of the 911 call during his closing arguments. In the call a woman, supposedly Bowers, is asking for the emergency services for Ingram. The 911 operator can be heard on the call asking Bowers for more information about the situation but Bowers doesn't offer any. She eventually hangs up.
However, defense attorney David A. Torres' description of events told a different story.
"I'm going to kill you bi***," Torres repeatedly yelled as he acted out what he claimed happened on the evening of Ingram's death.
Torres argued that Ingram continually abused Bowers for years and that on the night of his killing, Bowers was only acting in self-defense and fear for her life. He said Ingram followed Bowers to the bedroom where she then grabbed the gun. When he entered the room, she fired.
Bakersfield Police Officer Aaron Salinas, who was the first officer to respond to the scene, testified that said when he responded, he walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Initially, no one answered and he began to look around the outside of the home. When he returned to the front door he said Michaele Bowers was standing in the doorway.
He said she finally opened the screen door and started to talk to him saying that she told him, "I just shot my children's father."
District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer stated “The District Attorney’s Office is cognizant of how incidents of domestic violence can impact relationships. Two Kern County juries considering this case struggled with the potential of previous domestic violence within the relationship and what impact it may have had on the defendant’s actions. After two juries were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the charge of murder, an agreement was reached whereby Bowers acknowledged her role in the unlawful death of Mr. Ingram by entering a plea to voluntary manslaughter, and will be sentenced to six years in state prison as a result.”
Michaele Bowers is scheduled to be sentenced on October 29.