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Man dismembers girlfriend in Quarter; cooks body parts

By Walt Philbin
Staff Writer

A suicide note in the pocket of a man who jumped off the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel late Tuesday led police to the grisly scene of his girlfriend’s murder, where they found her charred head in a pot on the stove, her legs and feet baked in the oven and the rest of her dismembered body in trash bag in the refrigerator, according to police and the couple’s landlord.

The man, Zackery Bowen, a tall man in his mid 20s with long blond hair, claimed in the note to have killed his girlfriend, Adrian “Addie” Hall, on Oct. 5, according to police. Hall was also in her mid 20s.

In the five-page note, Bowen claimed he strangled Hall in the bathtub, then dismembered her body before taking it in pieces to the kitchen, police said. An autopsy conducted today shows that Hall was in fact manually strangled, police said. It also appears that Hall’s body was cut up after she died, police said.

“He appeared to clean up the bathroom a lot after he did it,” one officer said.

Police found the victim’s head burned beyond recognition in a pot on top of the stove, and her legs and feet in the same condition in pans inside the oven, police said.

Bowen was from Los Angeles, but apparently had lived in the New Orleans area for quite a while, police said. Friends said he served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and displayed both pride and bitterness over that experience.

Shortly after Oct. 1, the couple had rented an apartment together at 826 N. Rampart Street above a voodoo shop, said their landlord, Leo Watermeier, who recently ran a campaign for mayor.

The couple seemed happy at first, he said, though that would soon break down.

“He may have in retrospect seemed a little troubled,” Watermeier said in an interview early Wednesday morning, shortly after he led investigators to the gruesome scene inside the apartment.

Last Sunday, several days after he claimed in his suicide note to have killed her, Bowen appeared “all jolly, talking about the trip he was going to take,” said Lisa Perilloux, a regular at Buffa’s bar, where Bowen worked a weekly bartending gig.

Bowen had told several co-workers and friends there he planned to take a “much-needed vacation” to Cozumel or some other island resort, said Donovan Kalabaza, a fellow bartender and friend.

“Just think, tomorrow night, you’ll be in paradise,” Kalabaza recalled telling him.

Sunday afternoon, Bowen came in briefly in the afternoon, drinking with two other guys.

“He was a great mood, best mood I’ve ever seen him in.”

Bowen jumped to his death two nights later.

Though they appeared happy when they rented the Rampart Street apartment — telling Watermeier they had fallen in love on the night Hurricane Katrina struck and Hall gave Bowen shelter — they soon had a bitter falling out, Watermeier said. After the storm, the couple lived a vagabond existence in the shattered city, becoming feature fodder for the swarm of national media eager to profile post-flood diehards.

Police came to Watermeier’s door about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after Bowen committed suicide, asking if he knew a tall man with long blonde hair, and if he had a connection with the apartment at 826 N. Rampart St.

He took them to the apartment, he said, where they warned him he might not want to enter. Investigators told Watermeier what they found, however: charred body parts strewn about the kitchen.

Hall was also not from New Orleans, Watermeier said, but both she and Bowen seemed “hard core” about the city and proud that they had stayed here through Katrina.

Bowen’s suicide was first discovered Tuesday when his body was spotted below by someone in an upper floor lounge. It was soon determined that Bowen had jumped from an outside terrace near a swimming pool on an upper floor to the roof of the Chartres Street garage on the second floor, police said.

A surveillance camera showed him walking several times to the edge of a ledge on the upper floor, then retreating, then returning again, until he finally plunged, police said.

Police found the five-page suicide note in his pocket, which not only led him to the scene of the murder, but included information on an out-of-state person who should be contacted after he was found, police said.

As the news began to filter through the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny — where the couple worked, drank and at times argued — friends and co-workers relayed details of their personalities, their demons, and the tumultuous last weeks in their lives. Some offered portraits of a loving couple that sometimes fought; others painted a darker portrait of a dysfunctional couple at perpetual war.

Perilloux said she never heard Bowen speak anything but ill of Hall.

“He was getting rid of her,” she said, meaning he was trying to break up with her. “He used to complain about her to me. It was revolving door.”

“The customers loved him. Everyone loved him,” she said, still reeling from the news of his suicide and her gruesome murder.

They knew Hall well at Buffa’s, too, where she often sat at the other end of the bar, often staring admiringly at Bowen as he either served drinks or ordered his own, almost always a Miller High Life and a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey. When loud music drowned out their conversation, she would pass him notes, often to tell him she loved him, said Donovan Kalabaza, 34, a fellow bartender at Buffa’s and friend of both Hall and Bowen.

Eura Jones, who cleans the bar in the mornings, had not heard about the gruesome killings until told by a reporter early Wednesday. She described Hall a “real friendly” and “a real pretty girl” who was smitten with Bowen.

“She loved that guy. She really loved him,” Jones said, though she added the couple squabbled often. :devil: :xbones:
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