Saturday, September 28, 2002

Abuse suspect refuses court participation


Summoned to video room,he stays in cell

By Jim Hannah, jhannah@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A hearing for the Erlanger man charged with 46 counts of sodomy involving nine boys was postponed Friday afternoon when the defendant refused to participate in a videoconference.

Howell
Howell
        Larry Eugene Howell, 41, of Erlanger was expected to participate from a video conferencing room at the Kenton County jail, where he has been housed since Dec. 7 on a $250,000 bond. But when his court-appointed attorney appeared before Kenton Circuit Judge Douglas Stephens to argue several motions, including one requesting a change of venue, jailers informed the judge Mr. Howell refused to leave his cell.

        “I don't know what the problem was,” said Mr. Howell's court-appointed attorney, Mary Rafizadeh. “I assume he wanted to be present in court. I know he does prefer that.”

        Judge Stephens, whose courtroom was already being interrupted by noise from construction in another part of the building, agreed to move the hearing to 10 a.m. Monday.

        The roof of the 3-year-old Kenton County Justice Center began leaking Friday as heavy rains hit the area. Water was leaking into the seventh-floor chambers of Judge Stephens and the district court clerk's office on the third floor.

        Ms. Rafizadeh also questioned whether another defendant, who was on Friday afternoon's court docket, could hear the courtroom proceedings from his seat in the jail.

        Among the motions to have been discussed at Mr. Howell's hearing wasone requesting incriminating statements he made in jail to a police officer be thrown out.

        The officer interviewed Mr. Howell in jail after he called police in April to say he had important information concerning his cellmate, Russell “Rusty” McIntire.

        Mr. McIntire pleaded guilty in June 2001 to his part in to the July 2000 slaying of Delta Air Lines pilot Stephen Craven.

        Mr. McIntire agreed to testify against his co-defendants in exchange for life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

        Ms. Rafizadeh said she filed a motion to move the trial out of Kenton County, but Judge Stephens said he will first try to seat a jury here before considering moving it.

        Mr. Howell is scheduled to stand trial in Kenton Circuit Court on Oct. 29.

       



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- Abuse suspect refuses court participation