Weird news of the week 10/16/16
A 20-year-old will spend the next three decades behind bars for killing her father and hiding his body in a storage shed.
According to the Huffington Post, Crystal Brooke Howell of North Carolina is convicted of first-degree murder for shooting and killing 50-year-old Michael Howell. Howell was only 17 at the time of the killing, reports say.
Prosecutors say that Howell did a number of disturbing things after murdering her father. She spread the story that her father committed suicide, and then began driving his car and spending his money. Howell also allegedly installed a stripper pole in the middle of her father’s house and then had friends move in with her. During this time, authorities believe Howell hosted a number of “drug-fueled” parities.
From the time of the murder in February 2014, until the time of her arrest, according to a press release obtained by the Huffington Post, Howell was living a lie. Howell’s mother, Kristina Rester, said she even received a phone call from her daughter during this time during which Howell said she had been “released” from her father’s custody, and she wanted to move in with her. Rester said she wanted proof of the emancipation before that occurred, but that didn’t happen, the WYFF4 says. Instead, according to Rester, Howell just showed up at her home in Georgia in her father’s orange Land Rover with an U-Haul pulling all of her belongings.
Assistant District Attorney Jeff Jones was quoted in a news release and said, “The evidence in this case is that Miss Howell, who had just been caught shoplifting … with her father that day, came home and thought about killing her dad while she showered. Afterwards she executed him while he slept on the couch.” WYFF reports the victim was actually the one who caught his daughter shoplifting.
It’s possible the younger Howell could have gotten away with the murder, but some of her houseguests at her father’s eight-bedroom cabin in Maggie Valley discovered her father’s body in the shed. WYFF4 says that about a month after the murder, the guests made the horrifying discovery after moving a pinball machine out of the house and into the shed.
Reports say Howell will serve up to seven years for hiding her father’s body, then she will serve an additional 25 years for the murder before being eligible for parole.
Although Howell’s attorney tried to claim his client suffered from mental illness, the prosecution wasn’t buying it. They believed Howell reportedly planned the killing and then hid it for weeks before being caught. District Attorney Ashley Welch said, “She wanted to live on her terms at the expense of Michael Howell’s life. It’s very sad.”
Nicholas Foreman (above) of DeLand was busted after he allegedly carjacked driver Garrett Loughry at a gas station very early on Sunday morning. According to police, Foreman asked Loughry for a ride to a nearby Wendy’s, but Loughry declined. Foreman then pressed the subject, putting a hand to the waistband of his trousers as though he carried a gun. Once again, Loughry declined to give him a ride. At that point, Foreman reportedly got into the backseat of Loughry’s car, told Loughry to take him to a nearby 7-11, and threatened that he had a gun.
When they reached the 7-11, police say that Foreman got out of the car and offered Loughry money for the beer that was in the vehicle. Again, Loughry declined. Foreman reportedly put his hand back on the waistband of his trousers and ordered Loughry out of the car. Why? Foreman wanted a hug. According to the arrest report, the driver gave him the requested hug: “The victim advised he obliged due to being in fear of what the defendant had.”
When Foreman was arrested, he had a hunting knife on his person. In addition, he was in possession of an apparatus used for smoking marijuana. He was charged with carjacking with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remains in the custody of Volusia County Corrections on $11,000 bond.
These are the crime stories making headlines today, October 12, 2016 …
- Police have arrested a man who they say committed a lewd act on a woman at a Dollar General store in Thomasville, North Carolina. They’ve hit him with a string of sex charges, according to a news release. Police say that Lee Curtis McNeill, Jr. (above), 25, allegedly brushed up against his 28-year-old victim while she was standing at the checkout line on Tuesday with her children, who are ages six and seven. After the suspect left the store, the victim realized that he had ejaculated on her — and store surveillance video captured the crime on camera. McNeill has been charged with two counts of felonious indecent liberties with a minor, two counts felonious indecent exposure, and sexual battery. His court date is set for November 30. [Fox 8]
- The 24-year-old man who police say robbed a McDonald’s in North Syracuse, New York, with a pellet gun and two pipe bombs has said he was desperate for drug money. Brandon Sobotka (above) was arraigned Monday on charges including first-degree robbery and criminal possession of a weapon after police say he walked into the fast-food chain armed with a pellet gun and demanded that clerks hand over money. He left with about $200 in cash, but police stopped him and found two pipe bombs in his car. Some nearby residents were evacuated for several hours while experts from the FBI; the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Syracuse Police Bomb Squad removed the bombs. “I never had any intention of hurting anyone,” Sobotka said in his statement, adding that he has had issues with drugs including painkillers and heroin since he was 16. [Syracuse.com]
- A few days after video surfaced of Donald Trump’s offensive language, which he dismissed as “locker room talk,” a GoFundMe page has launched with the goal of raising $5.1 million to encourage people with potentially damning Trump tapes to come forward. The Trump Sunlight Campaign was created by Aaron Holman, a 34-year-old consultant based in Boston, on Sunday, and has raised over $33,000 so far. He chose $5 million as his goal due to the fact that this is the amount for which the Trump organizations will sue parties who break nondisclosure aggreements. “Recent developments have lead [sic] many to believe that video footage of Donald Trump exists which proves that the person we have all come to know over the past year is not the person that he truly is,” the campaign’s mission statement reads. [NBC News]
- The NYPD wants to talk to hotelier Vikram Chatwal about an incident in which he allegedly set two dogs on fire in front of his SoHo home. Police say Chatwal, 44, used an aerosol can and a lighter to burn the dogs at roughly 1:30 P.M. on Friday afternoon at 21 Wooster Street. Chatwal, who owns the NYC Dream hotel and has a well-documented history of drug problems, was seen yelling at a dog walker prior to the attack. The animal’s singed fur is visible in video footage obtained by TMZ, and Chatwal can also be seen apologizing to multiple people and inviting them to come inside. “No one’s coming into your house, man,” one witness says. “You’re crazy.” [TMZ/Gothamist]
- A suspect in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was able to give police the slip by pretending to be the sleepy homeowner. Officers say they were responding to a call from witnesses who saw two people roaming the neighborhood at 3 A.M. and looking through cars. As police approached the home near Ventura Ranch, the suspect came out of the garage — wearing only shorts — and told them that the vehicles in the driveway and garage belonged to his father. Police then asked the suspect to look through the truck to see if anything was missing. After one officer asked him for identification, he offered to go retrieve it, and then never returned. When the real homeowner emerged minutes later, police realized their mistake. The suspect came back later that night and stole the truck that was in the driveway, according to police. [KRQE]
- A personal trainer from the northern suburbs of Chicago has been charged with three counts of criminal transmission of HIV after he allegedly knowingly transmitted the virus to three women he dated. Prosecutors say that Jimmy Amutavi, 46, was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as early as 2001. Despite this, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday that Amutavi, who is from Wilmette, repeatedly had unprotected sex with the women and then denied he had the virus when confronted. Prosecutors claim that Amutavi began relationships with each of the women while working as their personal trainer. His lawyer argued that Amutavi had been taking retroviral medication that would make it virtually impossible to transmit the virus. [AP]
The FBI is exhuming the body of a man who they say bears a “strong resemblance” to William Bradford “Brad” Bishop, Jr., who has been on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitive’s list for decades. Bishop is a former state department employee accused of killing his wife, mother, and three sons with a hammer at their Bethesda, Maryland, home in 1976. Investigators will reportedly test Bishop’s DNA to see if it matches that of an unidentified man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 1981, but have not announced a target date for the results. Bishop’s trail went cold two weeks after the murders after his station wagon was found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. [ColdCaseUSA]
Main photo: Lee Curtis McNeill, Jr. [Davidson County Jail]
Richard Jordan Tarver is going to have a hard time keeping up with his viewing of The Walking Dead when the new season starts later this month, as he’ll be trying to watch it from behind bars. The 31-year-old Arkansas man was found guilty last week of kidnapping, capital murder, abuse of a corpse, aggravated residential burglary, possession of a defaced firearm, and theft of property. All of these charges stemmed from the July 2015 murder of 90-year-old Lavinda Counce.
Tarver was accused of breaking into Counce’s home on July 3, 2015, and kidnapping her. Prosecutors said that Tarver put the elderly woman into the trunk of her own car before driving around looking for a good spot to shoot her. He ended up taking her to a cornfield, walking her into the stalks, and then putting a .38-caliber bullet into the back of her head. He then reportedly drove Counce’s car over to a local hospital, and abandoned it in the parking lot. He was near a friend’s house, so he walked there and got a ride back home. He reportedly told the friend that someone had dropped him at the hospital to visit someone, and he needed a ride home. That same friend would later identify a bag found at Counce’s home as belonging to Tarver, as well as tell them that Tarver had come by his place the day of the shooting. Tarver told investigators what was in the bag: “It was part of what I was dressing up as — as a survivor. Like in the movies,” he said. “When the world ends.”
On July 17, 2015, Tarver reportedly confessed to shooting Counce after authorities finally arrested him. According to reports, a lengthy video of Tarver’s confession was played during the trial. In that video, Tarver said he had binge-watched episodes of The Walking Dead the night before and wanted to prepare himself in case the zombie apocalypse really did happen. He said he wanted to learn what it felt like to shoot a zombie, and that the elderly woman was the “closest thing” he could find. He even admitted to taking $50 from the woman’s purse, considering it a “bonus,” and then using that money to stock up on supplies for his nine-year-old daughter’s birthday party. Tarver’s defense attorney attempted to argue that the confession was coerced, suggesting police had threatened to jail his wife, but the jury appeared to have rejected that argument. When asked if he was suffering any remorse for his deed, Tarver replied, “No, I don’t have it.”Jurors reportedly deliberated for over nine hours on Thursday, and finally came to the convictions on Friday. Prosecutors initially sought the death penalty for Tarver, but jurors decided upon three life sentences plus 22 years. Tarver is currently in the custody of the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office, but is expected to spend the rest of his life in the Arkansas Department of Corrections Maximum Security Unit.
Officers in Dundee, Scotland, busted a chicken for doing what, in the world of jokes, chickens do most naturally: crossing the road.
Morning commuters alerted authorities after spotting the jaywalking yardbird pecking its way through traffic.
Responders wrangled the feathery wanderer back to the local precinct house, gave it some breakfast, petted it for a while, and then turned the fowl over to the SSPCA.
The Tayside Police Division posted a photo of the suspect on Facebook, and reported:“Officers were in East Marketgait, Dundee at 8:30 this morning after reports of a chicken trying to cross the road and giving passing motorists cause for concern.”
The bird’s owner is being sought and officers say they are “appealing for any information as to why the chicken was crossing the road.”
Police arrested Taccara Lasha Nauden, 28, of Miami, Florida, this past Saturday following a hit-and-run incident. A routine background check alerted officers that Nauden had an active warrant out for operating a vehicle without a license, so they arrested her.
After Nauden was taken into custody, she revealed that she was, indeed, carrying identification — but she had shoved it up inside her vagina.
Authorities took Nauden to a nearby hospital where a body scan revealed that, yes, she had told them the truth. While being transported back to jail, Nauden then exposed her private area while urinating in public.
Nauden appeared in court on Monday. The warrant for operating a vehicle without a license was dropped, but she now faces a charge of exposing sex organs in public.
While facing the judge, Nauden said, “I’m diagnosed with overactive bladder, and I told the officers that.” The judge said he wasn’t interested.
It’s not clear when Nauden’s next court appearance will be or if she has hired an attorney. Whether or not authorities were able to retrieve her I.D. card also remains a mystery.