Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: I'm asking for answers about the murder of Oletha Arnetta Bradford in 1997. There were four women involved/convicted.
Submitted by: Willie Allen, Soledad
ANSWER: The body of Oletha Bradford, 32, was found Oct. 25, 1997 in a drainage canal along San Juan Road, west of Interstate 5. She had been severely beaten and her throat slit with a utility knife.
According to stories in The Bee, Kimshana Lavoris Street, Willetta Luvenia Gainous and Lafeat Shimone Chainey were accused of murdering Bradford, their roommate, for secretly snorting their cocaine. A fourth woman, Michelle Evette Walker, also was arrested and charged with murder.
Walker reportedly was the driver of the sport utility vehicle in which the murder took place, and Gainous was a passenger. Bradford was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine, and had been badly beaten. Street and Chainey reportedly took turns slitting Bradford's throat.
Street pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. Now 39 years old, she is at the California Institution for Women in Corona.
Chainey, now 49, had a prior record for burglary and pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to 22 years in prison and is at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
Gainous, 48, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter and assault. She is no longer in prison but is in Sacramento County Jail charged with possession of narcotics.
Walker, who in 2000 pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and cooperated with the prosecution, was given credit for her time in custody and released.
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