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Bove pleads guilty to rape and murder of 13-year-old girl


An Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci Press Release

JEFFERSON_On February 15, 2019, John Richard Bove entered pleas of guilty in the courtroom of Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Gary L. Yost to the following thirteen counts as part of the original indictments:

  1. Two counts of Aggravated Murder, an unclassified felony
  2. Four counts of Murder, an unclassified felony
  3. One count of Rape, a first degree felony
  4. Two counts of Kidnapping, a first degree felony
  5. One count of Felonious Assault, a first degree felony
  6. Two counts of Tampering with Evidence, a third degree felony
  7. One count of Gross Abuse of a Corpse, a fifth degree felony

In exchange for Bove’s guilty plea to all thirteen counts of the indictments and the stipulation that Bove would be sentenced to Life Imprisonment Without Parole (LWOP), the State of Ohio dismissed the death penalty specifications contained under the two Aggravated Murder charges. Bove was represented by his attorneys Thomas E. Shaughnessy and Ariana E. Tarighati, and the State of Ohio was represented by Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas A. Iarocci and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Cecilia M. Cooper.

The charges stem from the tragic and horrendous kidnapping, rape, and murder of 13- year old Kara Zdanczewski on or about May 9, 2017 in Ashtabula City and Saybrook Township committed by Bove.

During the plea in the courtroom, Bove indicated that he committed these offenses as a result of being high on Crystal Methamphetamine. He stated that he injected more Methamphetamine that day than he had ever used before. He openly apologized to the family of Kara. Stanley Zdanczewski, the father of Kara, addressed Judge Yost during the sentencing phase on behalf of the family and told the judge that Kara was a wonderful daughter who is sorely missed by everyone. At the end of his statement, Mr. Zdanczewski told Judge Yost that his daughter would want to say one thing to Bove, at which time Mr. Zdanczewski turned to Bove and said “I forgive you.”

This plea and sentence occurred as a result of the consent of Kara’s family and the Ashtabula Police Department, the primary investigating agency in this case. The State of Ohio would not have proceeded with the LWOP plea and sentence without their consent and agreement to do so. As a result of this plea and sentence, the family and community will not be exposed at trial to the details associated with the crimes committed against Kara. In addition, the multiple appeals associated with any death penalty conviction in Ohio and the likely 30+ years of delay in the actual imposition of the death penalty will be avoided. More importantly, Kara’s family and the community can experience some sense of closure moving forward.

This tragic case represents yet another horrendous and despicable crime perpetrated as a result of the rampant and prevalent Methamphetamine use in Ashtabula County. Persons using Meth, also known as “Speed” or “Go,” are committing Murder, Sexual Assault, Assault, Burglary, Robbery, Theft, and Domestic Violence, to name a few of the crimes. Law enforcement will continue to fight the Meth problem in our county and charge and prosecute those criminals using and trafficking Meth, but Ashtabula County is in dire need of an infusion of significant financial and other resources to do so, including additional federal and state assistance to combat this problem.

Notwithstanding, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Ashtabula Police Department, which did an absolutely exceptional and compassionate job in investigating this case. I would also like to thank the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department, Ohio Attorney General’s Office – Bureau of Criminal Identification, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office, and the Ashtabula Solicitor’s Office for their outstanding investigatory and other assistance. On behalf of Ashtabula County, I wish to again offer our thanks to our law enforcement colleagues and friends in Mercer County, Pennsylvania for their cooperation in ensuring that Bove remain incarcerated in Mercer County during the Ohio investigation and indictment process.

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