Lady Justice 3 16-9

Parole was denied for another three years for a convicted murderer who threw his lifelong friend from a plane in 1982, officials said Wednesday.

Lawrence Rayborn Cowell, 68, will not get another parole hearing until 2019.

Cowell was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Jan. 26, 1990, for the murder of 27-year-old Scott Campbell.

Cowell and co-defendant Donald P. DiMascio conspired to kill Campbell for money on April 17, 1982. Cowell rented an airplane and hired DiMascio to kill the victim, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Campbell got on the plane with Cowell, thinking he was completing pilot training and that DiMascio was his instructor. DiMascio beat and strangled Campbell with Cowell behind the controls of the plane, prosecutors said.

Both men smashed in Campbell’s face and hurled his body into the ocean near Catalina Island, hoping the bloodied face would draw sharks and the victim would never be found, prosecutors said.

Campbell’s worried parents called Anaheim police later in the day, and Cowell, who had Campbell’s Pantera sports car, which was being stripped for parts to be sold, was later arrested.

Cowell was out on bail awaiting trial for a drunken driving crash that killed his passenger, Robert Leon Ferguson, in July 1980, when he killed Campbell, prosecutors said.

Cowell was convicted of vehicular manslaughter for Ferguson’s death and sentenced to six months in jail in August 1982, prosecutors said.

While out on bail in the Campbell murder, Cowell attacked his father, Eugene Cowell, and bit off part of his mother’s finger when she tried to break it up, prosecutors said.

After Cowell’s first conviction in Campbell’s murder was overturned on appeal, Cowell got into trouble again while awaiting a new trial, prosecutors said. Cowell got into another drunken driving crash, this time on the water, on June 10, 1989, on the Colorado River, prosecutors said.

Cowell continues to deny any plan to kill Campbell and claims it was self-defense when the victim pulled a gun, prosecutors said.

—City News Service

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