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Liberty man set for 2 murder trials



Published: Sat, October 21, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



He is accused of killing five people within three days in Warren and Columbus.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Liberty man charged with homicides in Trumbull and Franklin counties will face a jury here first, the Trumbull County prosecutor says.

"He's in our jail. We will go forward first," Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said Friday.

Jason T. Howard, 24, who faces a number of charges here, including aggravated murder and attempted murder, has been charged in Franklin County Municipal Court with killing a family of four in Columbus.

He's being held in the Trumbull County Jail in lieu of 2 million bond.

Watkins said Howard was charged here first. "We get the first chance," he added.

Columbus police said Friday that Howard, 24, of Catherine Street, was charged Thursday night with four counts of murder.

He is accused there of killing his ex-girlfriend, Jameila West, 27, along with her 10-year-old daughter, Jameire Erwin; 5-year-old son, Tre'vion Williams; and their 3-year-old son, Jakia Howard.

They were found dead June 21 at their Loretta Avenue home. West had been shot, Jameire strangled, and Tre'vion and Jakia had been suffocated.

The bodies were discovered by relatives from Warren who went to Columbus because they hadn't heard from West for a while.

Indictment

Howard was indicted June 23 by the Trumbull County grand jury on one count each of aggravated murder, attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping, all with a firearms specification; aggravated robbery, felonious assault and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Howard is accused of shooting to death Phillip Dally, 24, of Ohio Avenue, Warren, whose body was found June 19 in a vacant lot on Front Street in Warren.

There have been reports that Dally was killed because he owed Howard 130 for a bicycle.

The attempted murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping charges arise out of the June 18 shooting of Mario Sowell, 30, of First Street, Warren.

Authorities said Howard hijacked the car Sowell was driving and shot him in the stomach on West Park Avenue after Sowell told Howard he didn't have any money.

He also is accused of the June 21 wounding of Dontai Young, 26, of Lane Drive, who told police Howard shot him in the arm.

During his arraignment in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, Howard admitted committing all the crimes, threw a copy of his indictment on the floor and asked that the killers of his family be found.

His trial in the courtroom of Judge John M. Stuard is scheduled to begin Jan. 8.

If he is convicted, Howard faces life in prison on the Trumbull County charges stemming from what authorities have characterized as a three-day crime spree. He hasn't been indicted in Franklin County.

Columbus police had identified Howard as a person of interest in the four homicides there.

yovich@vindy.com




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