Codefendant in domestic violence case enters plea deal
Last modified: Nov. 15, 2012
The codefendant in a 2008 interstate domestic violence case involving an Ashe County woman has pled guilty in conspiracy related charges and is now awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court.
According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court, John Howell, the cousin of the convicted assailant, Robbie Howell, entered into a plea agreement on Aug. 27.
The terms of the plea agreement are unknown at this time, as a federal judge has sealed portions of the case.
John Howell's charges follow a 2010 conviction of Robbie Howell, who was convicted of assaulting a woman on multiple occasions during a long distance truck driving trip in November 2008.
Robbie Howell was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.
John Howell was arrested on charges of kidnapping conspiracy and interstate domestic violence conspiracy in January in relation to his cousin's case. He originally pled not guilty to the charges.
The bill of indictment stated that in early November, John Howell conspired with Robbie Howell to take a female victim on a long-distance truck driving trip that began in Ashe County.
The victim was physically coerced to come along for the trip, said court documents.
During the week long trip, John Howell assisted Robbie Howell in confining and holding the victim, along with a 2-year-old child, in the cab of the trip, according to the documents.
Court documents from both cases indicate that Robbie Howell severely beat his female captive and threatened her life on more than one occasion.
The indictment goes on to state John Howell would drive the truck to allow Robbie Howell to repeatedly beat the victim with his fists and maglight flashlight.
John Howell drove the truck to allow these beatings to occur, said the indictment.
The victim approached John Howell and asked if he would make him drive so the beating would stop.
John laughed at her and said he wouldn't “get his miles in” and wouldn't get paid, the affidavit stated.
Robbie's victim was said to be “scared of John and heard stories of him beating his girlfriend.”
The abuse continued until Oklahoma authorities stopped the truck in early November after they received a call from the trucking company's safety director that employed Robbie Howell.
The deputy that stopped the truck said the victim was severely beaten with most of her body swollen and bruised, according to federal documents.
In the days following, according to the documents, Robbie called a friend and told “boastfully how he had beat her worse than he had beat any man” and giggled and stated that the extent of the assault broke his hand.
Robbie Howell further incriminated himself when he wrote to another inmate while in custody, admitting to assaulting a woman over a three-day period.