#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~
Handsome Devils, Season 1, Episode 2, “Hurricane Love”
New Orleans, Louisiana, October 2006
This has to be one of the most bizarre murder cases I’ve come across.
In October 2006, Police were called to the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel after a report that a man’s body was on the roof of the parking garage. Police arrived and found the dead man. His body was severely mangled, and it was obvious he’d fallen or had been pushed and died on impact. Looking for an ID, investigators searched the man’s pocket and found a note. Below is a brief excerpt from the note:
“This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took.
If you send a patrol to 826 N. Rampart you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge along with full documentation on the both of us and a full signed confession from myself…
Authorities rushed to the location–a small apartment above the Voodoo Spiritual Temple. When they entered, they encountered a horrific scene straight from a horror movie.
The apartment was cold. The air had been set down to 60. On the walls were painted messages such as “I’m a failure,” along with a request to call Zack’s ex-wife and the mother of his children and tell her he loved her.
Some of the messages were arrows pointing to specific areas of the apartment, stating “Look here” or “look inside.” On the stove, they found a pot containing a human head, burned beyond recognition. In another pot they found hands and feet. Inside the oven, in a large roasting pan, were arms and legs, also burnt. There appeared to be seasoning on the limbs. Next to the stove on the counter were cut-up potatoes and carrots. Inside the refrigerator, in a large plastic bag, they found the torso. They would soon learn that the murder victim was Addie Hall, Zach Bowen’s girlfriend.
Friends of Zach and Addie were shocked. They knew the couple had a tumultuous relationship and had argued frequently but never dreamed it would end in such a gruesome manner.
The two had worked together at a bar in the French Quarter. Zach was known as a charmer and Addie a free-spirit. When Hurricane Katrina was coming, Addie let Zach stay with her and, rather than evacuate, the two chose to ride out the storm. After Katrina, they gained media attention and were featured in The New Yorker because of their ‘party’ lifestyle and upbeat attitudes even with all the devastation around them. They had no power, no water, but they hung out in the streets and served drinks to passersby. They treated it as though they were camping out and thrived amidst all the destruction.
Once the power was restored and real life encroached—including jobs and bills–the relationship began falling apart. They fought constantly, it was rumored they cheated on one another, and increased their drug use to a dangerous level.
A lady Addie worked for was interviewed on the show, along with Zach’s mother. (Can you imagine your son doing something like this, dying like this?). Addie’s boss thought of Addie as a daughter. She said Zach was extremely jealous and would say that if he couldn’t have her, no one could She called it ‘graveyard love’ which is a pretty accurate description of the way things turned out.
Both Zach and Addie had issues. She’d been molested as a child and grew up to become involved in several abusive relationships. Zach had been a military police officer in Kosovo and Iraq — including time at Abu Ghraib. One experience in particular that friends said “messed him up” the most was when a girl he had befriended in Iraq was killed — along with her whole family — when her family’s shop was bombed. He returned home depressed and suffering from PTSD. He was discovered with 27 burns on his body and stated in the journal that he burned himself with a cigarette for every year of his life as punishment for his failures.
The beginning of the end started when Addie went to the landlord to try to have Zach taken off the lease because she wanted to kick him out after learning he’d cheated. Zach was furious. Apparently, this led to an explosive, physical altercation. He went nuts and choked her to death.
Zach’s version of the events was relayed in an 8-page confession he wrote in Addie’s journal. The letter read, in part:
“I killed her at 1 a.m. Thursday 5 October,” he wrote. “I very calmly strangled her. It was very quick.”
After killing her, he sexually violated her corpse several times before passing out next to it. The next morning, he got up and went to work. When he returned, he moved Hall’s corpse to the bathtub, where he dismembered it using a hacksaw and a knife. Afterward, he meticulously cleaned the bathroom.
It took him four days to decide what to do with Hall’s remains. During that time, he went on about his life as normal — friends who met with him during the two weeks between the murder and his suicide said he seemed to be in good spirits, and even spoke of going on a vacation. In fact, his confession letter stated that he wanted to enjoy his last days on earth to the fullest, indulging in “good food, good drugs, good strippers.”
Apparently, he decided to cook Hall’s remains only in order to make them easier to dispose of. Despite the crime scene and the rumors that circulated, no human remains were found in his system during the autopsy.
He went on to say in the journal, “I scared myself not only by the action of calmly strangling the woman I’ve loved for one and a half years, but by my entire lack of remorse. I’ve known forever how horrible a person I am (ask anyone).”
The security cameras at the Omni Royal Orleans captured Bowen approaching the terrace and looking over it several times. Finally, he downed a final drink, then threw himself to his death.
There is one more bizarre twist to the case. Director Rob Florence decided to make a documentary called Zach and Addie about the case after meeting Margaret Sanchez, a friend of the couple. The film took 8 years to make and Sanchez is featured frequently discussing the tragedy. During the time it took to make the documentary, Sanchez ending up in the middle of her own horrific dismemberment case. Only this time, she was accused and eventually confessed to the murder. The victim was Jaren Lockhart, a dancer and mother in New Orleans. Sanchez and her boyfriend stabbed and dismembered Lockhart after luring her into their trap by claiming they wanted to hire her for a private dance.
Some speculate that this is just too coincidental and perhaps Margaret was involved in Addie’s death as well. If so, Zach has taken that knowledge to the grave with him. Margaret was not mentioned in his rambling confession.
How crazy is this case?