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Man who crashed a stolen LAPD car is charged with strangling boyfriend in Echo Park

Man who crashed a stolen LAPD car is charged with strangling boyfriend in Echo Park
Nicholas James Bowling, 28, was charged with one count of murder and is being held in jail on $2-million bail. (KTLA-TV)

A man who lost both legs after stealing and crashing a police cruiser in 2012 was charged Tuesday with slaying his boyfriend at an Echo Park home, authorities said.

Nicholas James Bowling, 28, faces one count of murder for strangling Frank Murrell Rogers, 48, during a dispute Friday, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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Bowling was arrested Friday and is being held in county jail on $2-million bail, according to jail records.

If convicted, Bowling faces up to life in state prison.

The slaying occurred at a sober living home in the 1100 block of Waterloo Street in Echo Park, where Bowling had been residing. He had an on-again, off-again relationship with Rogers, KTLA-TV Channel 5 reported.

Frank Rogers, 48, was killed Friday in Echo Park.
Frank Rogers, 48, was killed Friday in Echo Park. (KTLA-TV)

Friends mourned Rogers' violent death.

"He was a loving, gentle and kind soul," Thomas Harris told the news station. "I know that most people would be grateful for the experience of his friendship."

Bowling has a criminal history with several arrests, including a February 2012 arrest on suspicion of domestic violence, according to jail records. He also pleaded guilty to a count of drug possession in 2012.

In August 2012, Bowling -- then 25 years old -- stole a Los Angeles police cruiser and crashed it into a lightpole and a Starbucks near the intersection of La Brea Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood.

Nicholas Bowling stole an LAPD cruiser on Aug. 31, 2012, and smashed it into a Starbucks and a light pole in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood.
Nicholas Bowling stole an LAPD cruiser on Aug. 31, 2012, and smashed it into a Starbucks and a light pole in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The collision destroyed the police car and damaged a wall of windows at the Starbucks. Bowling was critically injured in the crash and later lost both legs.

Months after the crash, he pleaded no contest to stealing a law enforcement vehicle and was sentenced to five years of formal probation, according to court records.

For more news in California, follow @MattHjourno.

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