BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — More than seven years after a Bakersfield mother disappeared, her former fiancé was sentenced to 11 years in prison on a voluntary manslaughter plea agreement.
Azita Nikooei's body has never been found. Nathan Mowers told authorities that he dumped her body in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County. He shared that information as part of the deal he made last month with prosecutors.
Mowers was sentenced Wednesday morning in Kern County court. Prosecutors said afterward that he'll have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.
Bakersfield police detective and lead investigator Herman Caldas said last month that Mowers admitted to strangling Nikooei during an argument at their home on Ambergrove Street on Sept. 5, 2004.
"This was a domestic violence type of crime that went tragically wrong," Caldas said after the plea agreement was announced.
Prior to his plea, Mowers always denied having anything to do with the disappearance of 29-year-old Nikooei, who worked as a dancer at Bakersfield's Deja Vu strip club. Nikooei was last seen at The Marketplace on Ming Avenue in Bakersfield, where she had lunch with Mowers. Police found her car in the movie theater parking lot four days later.
After strangling Nikooei, police said Mowers placed her body in his car that was in the garage. There were doors leading from the house to the garage, so Mowers did not have to take the body outside. Under the cover of darkness, Mowers then drove the body to the high desert, where he dumped her and left it open to the elements.
Mowers was charged with murder in May 2011 and arrested in Riverside County.