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Karl Denies Home Confinement For Howell

By Staff | Feb 23, 2011

John Michael Howell

Fifteen defendants appeared before Mark A. Karl in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Feb. 18. Two highly-anticipated rulings were made on Friday as cases continue this term of court.

Despite three more family members’ offers to house John Michael Howell, 42, of HC 61 Box 114, New Martinsville, Judge Karl denied Howell bond for his kidnapping charge, keeping Howell incarcerated in the Northern Regional Jail for the duration of his case. Howell was remanded to the Northern Regional Jail and will return March 7 at 10 a.m.

During the hearing on Friday it was learned three additional family members–a cousin, James Howell; an uncle, Benny Howell; and an aunt, Robin Dennis–had agreed to house Howell if given bond and allowed home confinement. The state held firm on its opposition to Howell’s proposed home confinement, noting home confinement was never designed for defendants charged with such heinous acts as those allegedly committed by Howell.

On Jan. 18 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 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 committed against his wife. The two had been separated since August and have a child in common.

Howell allegedly attacked the victim when she attempted to leave his residence after picking up the child. The victim was flown from Wetzel County Hospital to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Upon his arrest the evening of Dec. 14, Howell was found with scratches around his left eye, left side, and a bruise on his left arm.

In another matter, following a voluntariness hearing that spanned two terms of court, Judge Karl denied Attorney Brent Clyburn’s motion to suppress evidence in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Friday. With that said, the statements Rodney Lee Nolan, 25, of HC 62, Box 50A, Burton, made to the West Virginia State Police and the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office will be admitted as evidence. Nolan’s bond continues and he will return March 21 at 1:30 p.m.

The voluntariness hearing surrounding Nolan’s case was held in November and December. It surrounded the defense’s belief that Nolan was not read his rights before making a written statement and that threats and promises were made to force Nolan into making the statement. Furthermore, the defense argued Nolan was intoxicated at the time of the investigation and statement and, as such, was taken advantage of by law enforcement.

Nolan is indicted on three counts of burglary alleged to have occurred between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1, 2008. Count one charges Nolan with breaking and entering the residence of Clint. W. Jones. Count two charges him with breaking and entering the residence of William Lane and Sandra Lane. Count three charges Nolan with breaking and entering the residence of Millar P. Cayavec.