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Howell Needs Another Attorney On His Case

By Staff | Jan 14, 2015

John Michael Howell is led into Marshall County Circuit Court Monday while wearing a spit shield—a measure ordered by Judge Mark A. Karl after Howell spit on Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught on July 15 in Wetzel County Circuit Court.

The criminal case involving John Michael Howell, 46, has been continued until Jan. 30, 10 a.m., while the court awaits a second attorney to be added to Howell’s defense team.

On Monday Howell appeared in Marshall County Circuit Court. This change in location for the case stems from a July 15 incident in Wetzel County Circuit Court, in which Howell spit on Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught. A motion was then entered by Howell’s defense, moving to have the Wetzel County Prosecutor’s Office recused from the case because of possible conflicts that would stem from the incident. The Honorable Judge David W. Hummel issued an order July 17, granting such.

Likewise, since that time, Attorneys Patricia A. Kurelac and Martin P. Sheehan are no longer on the case, which cleared up a possible conflict Judge Mark A. Karl had with the case.

Karl had recused himself from the case in October 2013 due to a “biased state of mind” regarding Kurelac, in relation to her billing practices. Judge Hummel has since transferred the case back to Karl, who originally presided over the case since January 2011.

On Tuesday, Karl denied a motion submitted by Howell, through his defense, requesting to be released on bond. Karl did order that Howell has to continue wearing a spit shield.

Attorney William Gallagher currently represents Howell. Gallagher is approximately Howell’s eighth attorney on this case.

Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Cramer, who now represents the state in the case, stated that Howell is entitled to two lawyers because Howell is charged with kidnapping, which calls for a life sentence.

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.