Thursday, February 22, 2018
By Joe Gorman
A year and a day after Zachary Howell was killed, a judge Wednesday set bond at $600,000 for the man accused of his murder.
Judge Maureen Sweeney set the bond in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for Terrell Martin, 38, of Tod Lane, who has been in the county jail since he was arrested about two weeks after Howell’s death.
Martin, who was out on bond at the time of Howell’s death in an aggravated robbery and felonious assault case, was given a bond of $500,000 on the murder charge and an additional $100,000 on a charge that he assaulted a corrections officer at the county jail.
Howell, 40, was found burned beyond recognition Feb. 20, 2017, in his SUV, which was found burning behind a vacant home at Edgar and Knapp avenues on the East Side. He had been shot in the head twice, an autopsy showed.
Defense attorney John Juhasz made a motion for bail, saying before Howell’s murder, Martin had shown up to all court hearings he was supposed to in his aggravated-robbery case.
Juhasz said that bond is meant to ensure appearance at court proceedings and protect the public. He said a bond could be tailored for Martin to address public safety concerns, but he did not suggest how that could be accomplished.
He also said the murder case is not a slam dunk for prosecutors and that he still is awaiting discovery material, including the autopsy report. His client is also indigent, which means he lacks the money to flee the jurisdiction and hide, Juhasz said. He requested a bond of $50,000 on the murder and an additional $5,000 on the assault charge.
When Juhasz said that, a member of Howell’s family could be heard gasping in the courtroom. A deputy went over to where family members were sitting and warned them about being quiet.
Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews asked for a bond of $1 million, which was set when Martin was arraigned in municipal court. He said that murder is a charge serious enough to make a person flee, and he also said that Howell was killed while Martin was out on bond for another crime.
Judge Sweeney did not state her reasons for the bond amount.
Another suspect in Howell’s death, Lyric Moore, 22, of Tyrell Avenue, has charges pending against her in common pleas court.