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North Carolina slaying suspect admitted to shooting her father, warrant says

Man's body discovered in plastic bin

Friday, March 28, 2014 6:51 PM
Last updated Saturday, March 29, 2014 12:53 AM
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The 17-year-old suspect arrested in a North Carolina homicide told investigators she killed her father sometime last month, according to a search warrant affidavit filed this week.

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Crystal Howell has been arrested in the slaying of her father, Michael Howell, and is awaiting extradition to North Carolina.   SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Crystal Howell has been arrested in the slaying of her father, Michael Howell, and is awaiting extradition to North Carolina.

Crystal Brooke Howell was interviewed Sunday at the Richmond County jail by two investigators from North Carolina – a detective with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation, according to the warrant issued Tuesday.

“During the course of the interview, Crystal Howell stated that approximately one month ago, she shot her father, Michael Howell, in the head with a shotgun. She stated that sometime afterward she threw the fired shotgun shell in the garbage,” sheriff’s Detective Scott Robinson said in the warrant affidavit.

Crystal Howell has been in police custody since Sun­day, when she was arrested at a Motel 6 on Boy Scout Road. North Carolina authorities had been seeking her since Saturday afternoon, when friends staying at her home in Maggie Valley, N.C., discovered her father’s body in a plastic tote bin inside a storage shed on the property.

According to the arrest warrant, Michael Howell had been dead since Feb. 23. Police said he died of a single gunshot to the head.

Funeral plans for Howell, a former Columbia County News-Times sports editor, are incomplete according to his ex-wife, Kristina Rester, who is handling arrangements. Rester said the plans include cremation and a funeral in Augusta after North Carolina authorities release his body.

Rester said their daughter had called her March 19 to say her father had released her from his custody and wanted to move back to Augusta. Rester said she told her daughter she would have to provide proof of the emancipation, before she would allow it.

Nevertheless, Crystal Howell showed up at Rester’s home March 22 driving her father’s orange Land Rover and pulling a U-Haul trailer filled with her belongings. The vehicle and trailer have since been seized by investigators.

Rester said her daughter stayed only long enough to take a shower and left to meet a friend and find a place to rent.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, friends of Crystal Howell were staying at the family’s eight-bedroom cabin in the remote Sheepback Mountain community near Maggie Valley.

According to the affidavit, Crystal Howell told her friends that her father had left home in January and committed suicide in Georgia.

Sometime afterward, the friends – identified as Summer Ramsey and Elijah Damon – moved into the cabin to stay with Howell and began to go through her father’s belongings, and to “clean and organize,” according to the affidavit.

The three filled several plastic totes with belongings and began to place them in an outside storage shed.

According to a statement to police from Ramsey’s mother, “Crystal Howell moved several of the totes back to the storage shed in the last few days and the shed was locked up and the key given to Summer Ramsey. Crystal told Summer to please keep everyone out of the shed except to put more items in the shed,” the affidavit said.

About 2:30 p.m. March 22, Damon and another man, Anthony Talley, were moving a pinball machine and more plastic totes into the shed. Talley noticed a sleeping bag covering a tote and removed it, revealing Michael Howell’s body inside, the affidavit said.

When reached by phone Friday, Talley said he knew Crystal only as an acquaintance, having worked on her father’s Land Rover a few times. He confirmed that he and Damon found the body while moving items into the storage building. He said he was still shaken from what he saw in the shed, but police had asked him not to discuss details of the case.

“I never want to see anything like that ever again in my life,” Talley said. “It has ruined me.”

On Wednesday, Crystal Howell made a brief appearance in an Augusta courtroom before Judge Stephen Shepard. After learning that the defendant did not have legal counsel, Shepard chose to halt the proceeding until she had consulted an attorney.

Another hearing date was not set, court officials said.

Rester said she has spoken to her daughter since the arrest, but wasn’t privy to any details of the case. She said Crystal had lived with her ex-husband since they divorced about five years ago. She still saw her periodically and spoke to her often.

“We actually had a really good summer,” she said. “We talked about her moving back here, but before we worked out the details she decided to move back with her dad.”

Rester said her daughter had difficulties with authority and tested boundaries, which created family conflicts. Most recently, she had been arrested in North Carolina in December on a shoplifting charge, Rester said.

“The reason she wasn’t living with us was that she couldn’t follow the rules here,” she said.

Comments (11) Add comment
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Pops
8343
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Pops 03/28/14 - 09:28 pm
4
1
She sounds like wasted space

Bet her attorneys will have an "abused child" defense......watch.....

AutumnLeaves
7658
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AutumnLeaves 03/28/14 - 09:55 pm
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1
Check the caption under her

Check the caption under her photo. Shouldn't the teen be awaiting extradition, not "extradiction"?

itsanotherday1
42932
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itsanotherday1 03/29/14 - 12:29 am
3
1
I just can't get my brain

I just can't get my brain wrapped around a seemingly normal person shooting a parent, absent any extreme circumstances. What are we becoming, as these kinds of situations seem to be occurring more frequently?

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 03/29/14 - 01:25 am
10
1
This young woman...

...has had profound psychological problems her entire life. She was constantly in trouble, and her father did everything he knew to do and then some in the attempt to help her. God bless him...he lived and ultimately died in one of the worst nightmares possible.

iaaffg
2214
Points
iaaffg 03/29/14 - 08:31 am
2
1
what's with the pic they put

what's with the pic they put with this article? smiling away like she just won a beauty contest or got picked for the national spelling bee, certainly not like she just got picked up and jailed for killing her dad. that's like the glamour shot they kept posting of the lady who embezzled money, can't remember her name, even when she got sentenced, we got the pretty glamour shot. why not the grimy mug shot from jail? or is this the selfie she took right after she killed him? prob posted on that idiotic site fb, too.

itsanotherday1
42932
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itsanotherday1 03/29/14 - 09:02 am
4
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Thanks Austin. It is easier

Thanks Austin. It is easier to understand if she is deranged.

internationallyunknown
4182
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internationallyunknown 03/29/14 - 09:39 am
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3
Only when they look like her

Sympathy comments....sickening.

grouse
1635
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grouse 03/29/14 - 09:58 am
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Sounds to me like God has
Unpublished

Sounds to me like God has already spoken, Austin...

Grandpa Jones
1050
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Grandpa Jones 03/29/14 - 10:33 am
2
1
....

Sounds like she was starting off early enjoying leisure at the expense of others.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 03/29/14 - 10:59 am
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She's only a
Unpublished

child! Release her to the custody of the naacp or democratic party where she can reach her potential.

itsanotherday1
42932
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itsanotherday1 03/29/14 - 04:29 pm
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0
IU

I looked back over all of the comments and didn't see a one expressing sympathy. What thread were you reading?

burninater
9580
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burninater 03/29/14 - 05:48 pm
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1
"I just can't get my brain

"I just can't get my brain wrapped around a seemingly normal person shooting a parent, absent any extreme circumstances. What are we becoming, as these kinds of situations seem to be occurring more frequently?"
-----
Depends on what you mean by "occurring more frequently".

Violent crime is at its lowest rate in the last FIFTY years.

However, if you are talking about gun violence in the home, there have been a number of investigations that show that guns in the home lead to significant increases in the violent death of friends, neighbors, or relatives.

For example -- "A study of all gunshot injuries in Galveston, Texas, over a 3-year period found only 2 that were related to residential burglary or robbery. In one, the homeowner was shot and killed by a burglar; in the other, the homeowner shot the burglar. During the same interval, guns in the home were involved in the death and injury of more than 100 residents, family members, friends, or acquaintances."

"A more complete study examined all gunshot injuries (nonfatal as well as fatal) in the home occurring in Memphis, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington; and Galveston, Texas (1992–1994) in which the gun involved was known to be kept in the home. Home guns were 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident, 7 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault or homicide, and 11 times more likely to be used in an attempted or completed suicide than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense."

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/753058_4

As a whole, "what we are becoming" is a nation LESS likely to settle our differences violently. However, this trend is less likely to appear within households, and amongst families, that possess firearms.

burninater
9580
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burninater 03/29/14 - 06:07 pm
0
1
Another thing that is

Another thing that is extremely interesting iad1, is that you repeatedly vent about single parent households creating a culture of violent thugs.

Yet in this case, even though we have a child being raised in a single parent household committing a violent act, you say "I just can't get my brain wrapped around a seemingly normal person shooting a parent ...".

In both this case, with the "seemingly normal person", and the other cases with the "thugs", all you had to make your conclusion was a name, or a picture, or a place where they lived.

Strange that you would leap to such opposite conclusions, based just on a name or a picture.

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