Defendant pleads innocence in Bowman motel murder

At the Stark County Courthouse on Wednesday, Madison West took the stand to testify on her own behalf, after her co- defendant Chase Swanson testified the day before.

Madison West and Chase Swanson are accused of murdering a man in their motel room in August of 2016.

During her testimony she maintained her innocence.

” I never wanted Nicholas Johnson to die,” said West.

West said that she and Swanson met Johnson at Windy’s Bar & Pizza in Bowman, and he offered to give them a ride back to to their room at the El- VU Motel.

She also said that she had never met Johnson before the fatal night of August 19th.

While in the car together, West said that Johnson proposed that the three of them take part in a sexual act together.

When they were in the motel room, she said Swanson suddenly unleashed a violent rage on Johnson.

“He just kept kicking him and kicking him. I tried to stop. I tried telling him to stop, ” said West

On Tuesday, Swanson testified that Johnson pulled out a knife and was trying to rape West, and he was only trying to protect her, but West said that at no time did Johnson present himself as a threat to them.

Last week in court, Todd Pashano, who was a neighbor of West and Swanson at the motel, admitted to seeing Swanson beating Johnson in the motel room with a blunt object.

West said she agreed with many portions of Pashano’s testimony, but the prosecution was quick to point out that she only agreed with the parts that indicted Swanson in the murder.

“When he (Pashano) was in the room he said he was watching you stomping and kicking Nick (Johnson) while he was unconscious or dead on the floor,” said Jonathan Byers. Asst. AG of North Dakota.

Pashano also want on to say that West was laughing “hysterically” during the incident.

She argues that she was crying and was trying protect Johnson.

During their escape from the Bowman motel to Denver, she said Swanson was in complete control and had a gun.

Pashano said he was a kidnap victim during this time.

West said that her and Pashano were scared for lives and didn’t try to escape, before being apprehended by law enforcement in Denver.

Swanson testified that he suggested many times that they turn themselves in and was no threat to them.

If convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, Madison West and Chase Swanson could face life in prison without parole.

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