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Australian makes plea deal in fatal West Hollywood hit-and-run

Ryan_bowman An Australian businessman will be sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a crash in which a 21-year-old woman was struck and killed on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

Ryan Bowman, 42, was charged with felony hit-and-run after his Bentley slammed into Lauren Ann Freeman last November as she was in the crosswalk at Hammond Street. Bowman had faced a maximum prison sentence of up to four years in state prison had he been convicted.

In a plea deal reached March 2, Bowman admitted to being behind the wheel of the Bentley that struck Freeman, according to a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. His charges were reduced to leaving the scene of a collision.

Bowman is scheduled to be sentenced Friday morning by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden Fox. He will spend an unspecified amount of time in a "pay-to-stay" city jail.

Bowman is a director of Zeal Entertainment, a Sydney-based company that provides content licensing agreements for mobile phone companies.

Freeman graduated last June from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles. She had just attended a concert with a friend at the Roxy Theatre when she was struck and her body thrown about 50 feet in the crash.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff's investigators said Bowman sped away in the car and that debris found at the scene suggested  the vehicle could have been a dark-colored Bentley.

Investigators said they found a Bentley abandoned in a residential neighborhood near Melrose Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard, about 1 1/2 miles from the incident.


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Photo: Ryan Bowman. Credit: Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

Comments () | Archives (23)

What a mockery! Indeed, this city has the most corrupt legal system in the country - plea deals which simply wipe out any form of punishments for those who are well-placed in the industry.
Yesterday was that drunk, crappy musician who murdered the Ethiopian in Culver City who was left go scott-free, now we have this jerk who kills someone on the street, the Lindsay will again walk away with 25 hours of volunteer work -

Then Arnold who lessens the term of Fabian Nunez's son -

Looks like this guy has bought his way to Hollywood justice.

so you kill a woman and you get a tap on the risk because you're rolling in a bentley. life is so unfair.

Ryan Bowman?

Can anyone ever trust this guy again?

So sorry for the victim's family and friends.

And now her family can, as they should, sue his pants off. It's as near to a slam-dunk as a civil suit gets.

Yeah if this guy was a black or latino from the "hood" he would have gotten 25 to life in prison. Makes one wonder on how "JUSTICE" is applied.

This is distressing. I hate to believe that you can buy your way out of trouble in L.A., but it sure looks like it.

Yep, the courts are tired of the victims.

They are bored with actually doing their jobs and upholding the law.

We are already a 3rd world country.

I used to believe it was the courts that stood between us and full 3rd world reality.

Well, recently I have found out I am wrong, and here is another example.

I think they are too tired to work anymore and are too busy hoping for their fat pensions.

Car people are more important than people without cars.

As a citizen of Australia, I have over the years read of the countless 'rich' who's lawyers single task seems to be, plea down to something irrelevant, pay a fine and forget about it.
If the prosecution thought the case was so shakey that they entered a plea bargan, why did they bring the charges in the first place? Is their forensics lab so understaffed they can't connect the car to the debris, and hence running down the young woman. He abandoned it, his DNA must be all over it.
He killed a young woman, and left the scene. That's hit and run, plain and simple. You get charged with leaving the scene of a collision, when you hit another vehicle, a bus shelter, a building - not a HUMAN being!

What he fled cause he was drunk.. now he gets thos little deal.. my god, why don you think people flee this state..what a joke.

Zero justice! Kill someone and then flee.....and basically get away with it because you are rich!!! DISGUSTING!! Shame on the justice system!!!

Justice served.

How many stars is the "pay to stay" jail?

All you have to do is get behind the wheel - DRUNK - and you can kill at will....look at the last couple of cases - 2 sisters killed by a wrong way - freeway - diver who blew a .26....she got 6 years.........the female scum who ran over a cyclist at 6AM - yes AM - DRUNK and DRAGGED him FOR A MILE recieved 3 years......ya just get behind a wheel and you have a license to KILL. Makes you wonder who the prosecuters and judges are who say OK to this - they need to know that we are PISSED.

i dont understand why he was only charged with hit and run and not murder (in any degree) or even vehic. manslaughter. how is it possible for this guy to cause the death of a young women and the max penalty be 4 years?

money does NOT buy freedom, it just pays for some really good lawyers. thats what it comes down to. whos got money to afford good representation. the by product is what we see here. truly sad.

i live close to the sunset strip and having heard the verdict, i am as OUTRAGED as this victim's family and friends must be....1 year in a 5 star private jail????....we should all be ashamed of our legal system this very day....i know i am!!...shame on judge fox in beverly hills....shame on his high-profile attorney blair berk....and shame on HIM especially....best get rid of all of the mirrors in your life buddy, cause it "should" be hard to look at yourself after what you've done...your life, and that of your family, is still in tact.....this my friends, is what paying for big-gun lawyers will do for you!!!.....us poor folk would rot in jail

Although this sentence seems unjust, the criminal conviction should allow the victim's family to win a wrongful death lawsuit which may result in depriving the defendant from all money and personal assets for the forseeable future. May no be adequate consolation for the victim's family, but this guy will certainly be miserable for a long time.

The girl that was hit and killed was illegally crossing the street, highly intoxicated and she did NOT have the signal to cross. In fact, the light was green and another car had to swerve to miss the girl just before Bowman hit her. Yes, he freaked out and made a huge mistake. Maybe he had alcohol in his system, maybe not. But don't act like you know what you would do if you were in the same situation.

Diego, you must be an attorney for drunk drivers.

Diego, perhaps you would like to share your involvement with this case with all of us. I for one am very curious and interested in you and your sources. First and foremost get your facts in order......I'll buy you the first cup of coffee, maybe at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

John J. Nazarian, Private Investigator

I must say, i think it is interesting that the parents of this poor girl did agree to this plea bargain. Mr Bowman has said nothing, and in my opinion and from what i've heard it is because Lauren was in a place she wasn't meant to be - and drunk. She was on the road on a red crossing light! Sure he left the scene, but who actually caused her death? Maybe she did.

Bowman however was not intoxicated & had been in touch with him through the evening. Besides the point as this isn't the issue. Instead of worrying and trying to get revenge to someone who has done no harm in the world. Yes, for a short period worked with girls gone wild but it is impossible to say that was the cause of his success. He also does mobile for people you probably considered role models. Why don't you put your worrying and time into the fact that a young girl lost her life which may very well be at her fatalities. Your words are harsh and if you have opinions so grand then why don't you do something in world and teach early teens and young adults the importance of life and responsibilities. Or if you are so convinced he had been drinking and driving why don't you make your loud voice heard and look at the bigger problems. Someone is dying from worse and less accidents than this case every 15 minutes... Yes punishment was easy and yes he is fortunate to have money. But why does money make you "scum." Mr. Bowman was hard working and worked to where he was financially in life. Just like you, me and everyone in the world are trying to be successful. Why don't you take your time to celebrate with the world about Miss Freeman and what she accomplished in her life.

This has nothing to do with if he's "from the hood"...its if you're rich, well placed in society, knows the right folks, you'll get away with most anything. Yes, life is unfair...sad...looks as if you can "buy" justice. I feel so bad for the girl and her family...especially her parents.


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