Published: Thursday, November 23, 2006
Victims ID Howard as gunman
Jason Howard acted shocked to hear his former Columbus family of four was killed.
By TIM YOVICH
WARREN Two gunshot victims have identified Jason Howard as their assailant.
Mario Sowell, 30, of First Street, and Dontai Young, 26, of Lane Drive, testified during a hearing to suppress evidence in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court that Howard shot them.
Howard, 24, of Liberty, is accused in the June 19 aggravated murder of Phillip Dally, 24, of Ohio Avenue, whose body was found in a vacant lot on Front Street.
He is also charged with the June 18 attempted murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping of Sowell and June 21 wounding of Young, who was shot in the arm.
Defense attorneys Robert Lewis and Jeffrey Goodman are asking Judge John M. Stuard to throw out as evidence a photo array used to identify Howard as the assailant, and his confession to police.
The hearing was continued indefinitely until the prosecution can locate two other witnesses.
What was on DVD
During the hearing, a DVD showed Warren police Detective Sgt. Jeff Cole on June 22 reading Howard his Miranda rights although he wasn't asked to sign the Miranda rights form.
Also recorded was Columbus police telling Howard that his former girlfriend and her four children one that he fathered were found dead in their Columbus home. Howard could be seen with a look of disbelief on his face, sliding to the floor of the Warren police interrogation room, curling into a ball and sobbing.
Howard has denied that he killed the four, although he is charged in Columbus with murdering them.
During his earlier June 23 arraignment before Judge Stuard on the local charges, Howard admitted to all the local shootings after throwing a copy of his indictment onto the courtroom floor. He could face life in prison.
On Wednesday, Young testified that he got a ride from a friend, Tamisha Howard, on Belmont Street on June 21. A man was covered up on the back seat of the car.
Jason Howard is a cousin to Tamisha Howard. Young told Chris Becker, an assistant county prosecutor, that he knew Jason Howard because they were in prison at the same time and he picked out Howard's photo when shown an array of mug shots by police.
During cross-examination by Lewis, Young testified that he thought Howard was going to shoot him. The two fought over the gun Howard was carrying. They both fell out of car, and Young was shot in the arm.
Sowell testified that he was in his car June 18 when Howard approached and put a gun to his head. Sowell told the court that Howard shot him through the stomach and took his money.
During cross-examination, Sowell said his medication after surgery for his wound didn't hamper his ability to identify Howard as the gunman from a photo array.
Also taking the stand was Daniel Dally, 21, brother of fatally wounded Phillip Dally. Dally, who lived with his mother and brother at the time of the shooting, testified that he was on the porch of their home and his brother was with Howard at the street.
Phillip Dally was found shot to death in a field near his home.
The hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday in the county jail because Howard was attacked last week when the hearing was originally scheduled. Becker said witnesses and television news crews were waiting in the lobby of the jail and complained to him about not being able to get into the small jail room.
Becker and Lewis agreed to move the hearing back to the courthouse.