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COLUMBIANA COUNTY Father is charged in slaying of 3-month-old daughter



Published: Wed, September 4, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Authorities have said the infant died of head injuries.

LISBON -- A Butler Township man is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his infant daughter.

Christopher Howells, 29, of 30497 Carey Road, was served recently with a secret indictment handed up by a Columbiana County grand jury.

Howells, who was being held this morning in the county jail, is charged in the May 23 death of 3-month-old Ashton Howells.

The charge is a first-degree felony bearing a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine on conviction.

Howells is to be arraigned Sept. 18. But he is likely to appear in court before that to have his bond set.

Ashton was hospitalized May 14 with questionable injuries, Sgt. Allan Young of the county sheriff's department said this morning.

The injuries included a fractured skull, blood on the brain and a bruised liver.

Young would not say how the injuries occurred.

Howells was alone in the house with the baby for about 15 minutes May 14. When his wife, Rachel Alfrey, who also is the child's mother, returned, she found Howells performing CPR on the child, Young said.

In July, the Summit County coroner's office said without elaborating that the infant died of blunt-force trauma to the head.

On May 17, Ashton's 3-year-old twin siblings were placed in foster care by the county juvenile court.




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