Girlfriend charged in 2011 killing of York lawyer denied bond a second time

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJuly 19, 2013 

— The York woman who told police she shot her boyfriend the night he was found dead in his boxer shorts will stay in jail until her trial.

A Spartanburg County judge denied bond for Christina Adams, her second attempt at receiving it since she was charged in the shooting death of 44-year-old Michael Howe, a York lawyer, two years ago.

In an order filed with the York County Clerk of Court’s Office on Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Mark Hayes denied Adams’ request for bond nearly a month after she, her defense attorney and family members made another appeal in a Spartanburg courtroom.

On Oct. 10, 2011, police found Howe dead in the bathroom of the Smith Street home the couple shared after Adams’ friend, Daniel Martin, and Adams’ daughter went to the York police station to report the killing.

Adams, who initially dropped the gun and fled, told police she shot Howe after “he hit me,” according to a police report. Police charged Adams with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Since then, the case has lingered in court, and Adams has been in jail for nearly two years. Her defense attorney, Amy Raney, claimed going to trial was delayed because she endured a battle with solicitors during discovery, the process whereby prosecutors share with the defense evidence and information police gathered in an investigation, and vice versa.

She said prosecutors did not hand over all the materials the defense requested until a day before Adams’ Spartanburg bond hearing.

Greg Voigt, the Charleston solicitor prosecuting Adams, denied those claims, saying the defense team requested items that were not pertinent to the investigation.

Last February, a magistrate upheld Adams’ murder charge during a preliminary hearing. Magistrates cannot set bond for a murder charge. A subsequent Circuit Court bond hearing was canceled by the defense because both the defense and prosecutors did not have enough information from discovery to proceed, Raney said.

York County judges and solicitors recused themselves from the case because of past dealings with Howe’s mother, Mary “Micky” Howe, who worked in the court system for many years.

A bond hearing was held last December, where a judge denied Adams’ bond on the condition her case would be tried by March. If not, she would be able to ask for bond again.

Late last month, Raney argued that Adams should be granted a bond because of her ties to the community, her 12-year-old daughter and her desperation to escape an abusive situation.

The defense claims Adams feared Howe, who allegedly kept guns strapped to the headboard of their bed and was an expert in systema, a Russian martial art blending hand-to-hand combat with knife-fighting and firearms training.

Voigt countered that Adams’ actions were “cold-blooded.” He said Howe was in the bathroom in his boxer shorts when Adams emptied a .45 caliber gun into him after dinner.

Hayes wrote in the order that failure to bring the case to trial by March cannot be “attributed to any failure on behalf of the State to proceed in an efficient manner.”

In an email to The Herald Thursday afternoon, Raney wrote: “While I am disappointed for Ms. Adams and her family that her bond was denied, I respect the judge’s decision and am moving forward with preparing for her trial which is scheduled to begin on November 18, 2013.”

If the case does not make the trial docket by November, Hayes said the defense is able to file a third motion for bond.

Efforts to reach Voigt on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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