The case involving John Michael Howell, 45, of HC 61 Box 114, New Martinsville, will be continued generally until the completion of competency and criminal responsibility evaluations.
The motion for such was filed by Howell's defense attorneys, Patricia Kurelac and Michael Sheehan and granted on March 5 by The Honorable Judge David W. Hummel; therefore, the trial date of April 21 has been vacated.
Hummel stated in court that he had received several motions that were hand-delivered by Sheehan on the previous day. He said he had not yet had time to study those. A motion filed by the defense to disqualify the prosecution in the case was denied.
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.