A huge development in the case involving John Michael Howell, 45, of HC 61 Box 114, New Martinsville, took place Monday morning when the Honorable Judge Mark A. Karl recused himself from the case.
Karl described his reason for recusal as being because of a "biased state of mind," in relation to Howell's attorney, Patricia Kurelac. Judge Karl stated this bias had to do with Kurelac's billing practices.
On Monday, the defense was actually expected to file a writ of prohibition, as they were challenging rulings made by Karl in the case. This filing was to go to the Supreme Court of Appeals.
John Michael Howell
The development Monday is just one of many that has taken place in the Howell case.
The case was moved to Marshall County earlier this year, due to the apparent lack of qualified jurors in Wetzel County.
The case is now stayed, pending appointment of a new judge.
Howell has also changed attorneys several times.
On Jan. 18, 2011, Howell pleaded innocent to his four-count indictment charging him with felony offenses of a sexual and violent nature said to have occurred on or about Dec. 14, 2010, in Wetzel County.
Howell faces one count each of the felony offenses of kidnapping, second degree attempted sexual assault, first degree sexual assault, and malicious assault (respective to counts one through four) for acts allegedly committed against his wife. The two had been separated since August 2010 and have a child in common.