Contact: Beth Stone 508-584-8120
PLYMOUTH – A New Hampshire man has been found guilty for his role in the 2015 murder of a woman found dead and burned in Bridgewater, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz announced today.
After a 10-day trial, a jury deliberated 7 hours before finding Julian Squires, 48, of Manchester, New Hampshire, guilty of one count each of Murder and Kidnapping. Plymouth Superior Court Judge Brian Davis continued sentencing to June 8, 2022
On November 3, 2015, Bridgewater Police received a 911 call just before midnight for a report of a fire burning beside MBTA train tracks. Police determined it to be a human body on fire and it was later identified as 29 year-old Ashley Bortner of New Jersey. Bortner’s body had been burned over 70%, she had been gagged by clothing, and her face was wrapped with a towel. Bortner’s hands and feet were also bound behind her.
Massachusetts State Police investigators determined Squires’ co-defendant, Fernando Owens, 50, was acquainted with the victim and believed Bortner played a role in the murder of his son in Suffolk County.
Owens fled the United States to the Dominican Republic after the murder but was captured by authorities there. He is awaiting trial on one count each of Murder and Aggravated Kidnapping.
At trial, jurors heard evidence that Squires was in Bridgewater around the time of the 911 call to Bridgewater Police and assisted Owens in killing and disposing of Bortner’s body.
Assistant District Attorneys Jessica Elumba and Kathleen Kramer prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, Bridgewater Police, MBTA Police, Boston Police and the United States Marshals Office.