Bond set for girl accused of father's murder

By DeeAnna Haney | Aug 07, 2014

The teen accused of murdering her father and concealing his body near their home in the Sheepback community of Maggie Valley in March has been placed under a $2 million bond.

Crystal Howell, who turns 18 Aug. 24, was indicted by a Haywood County Grand Jury April 2 for the shooting death of 50-year-old Michael Howell.

She appeared for a bond hearing in Haywood County Superior Court Thursday morning wearing a patterned dress and brown cardigan, her hair pulled back in a double French braid revealing a small tattoo behind her left ear.

Law enforcement reports show Michael Howell was murdered about a month before two of the teen's friends found the man's body stuffed in a plastic tub in a storage building near the family home.

Crystal Howell was located and arrested at a Motel 6 in Richmond County, Georgia, where her mother lives, March 23. She has been in custody at the Haywood County Detention Center without bond since her arrest.

Her attorney, Bridgette Aguirre, pointed out that Howell's age at the time of the incident prevents the state from seeking the death penalty, therefore entitling her to a bond.

Assistant District Attorney Rachael Groffsky requested a bond of at least $1 million because of the suspect's danger to the community, to herself and the possibility that she abscond.

"There have been statements by Ms. Howell where she admits to committing this particular crime," Groffsky said, adding that during interviews, Howell was stoic and not emotional while confessing to her father's murder.

Resident Superior Court Judge Brad Letts placed her bond at $2 million cash or secured. In the event of her release, she will not be allowed to leave Haywood County "for any purpose whatsoever," he said.

She will also be required to wear a satellite-based monitoring ankle bracelet and adhere to a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven days a week.

Her next court date is scheduled for Nov. 17.