Enquirer Herald

Woman charged with murder of York lawyer appears in court

The woman accused of fatally shooting York lawyer Michael Howe in his home last year made her first appearance in court Tuesday.

Christina Adams, 27, is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. She is expected to face a grand jury trial.

At the start of her preliminary hearing, 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett advised Judge Lewis D. Malphrus, Jr. that due to his relationtionship with the victim’s family, the case would be handled in the 9th Circuit, based in Charleston.

Howe’s mother worked in the court system, and Howe was briefly a reserve deputy with the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Rich Caddell of the York City Police Department told the court the results of his investigation on Tuesday.

On the night of Oct. 10, police responded to 18 Smith St. about 10:30 p.m. after Daniel Martin, a friend of the couple, and Adams’ young daughter came to the station and reported the shooting.

Adams was standing outside of the home when officers arrived, according to the report. A 45-caliber weapon, believed to have been used in the murder, was found in the side yard.

When officers asked Adams what happened, she told them, “He has been shot,” according to a police report. She then told police, “He hit me.”

Howe had been shot several times and was found on his back in the bathroom, police said.

Adams and Howe were in a relationship at the time, and she had lived at the residence off and on, Caddell told the court.

Before the shooting, the couple had some friends over, including Martin. The friends had been gone for some time when Adams called Martin and told him Howe had hit her, Caddell said.

Martin returned to the home and put Adams’s daughter in his car, Martin’s statement read. When Martin went back inside, Howe was inside the bathroom. Martin knocked on the door and asked if Howe was alright, and he replied he was.

Then, Adams allegedly stepped in front of Martin, opened the door and shot Howe several times, Caddell said.

Adams had also called a friend, who arrived just before police. In a statement, the friend said Adams said Howe had hit her and she had shot him.

Multiple times, Adams told police she had shot Howe, Caddell said. However, no official statements were taken, and she asked for a lawyer.

Casey Cornwell, Adams’s public defender, asked Caddell if the witnesses had given any account of the couple’s attitudes during the evening.

Neither had noted anything out of the ordinary, Caddell said. Martin reported it appeared Adams had been drinking, but was not drunk. Howe stayed in the bedroom for most of the time.

Cornwell asked if they had interviewed Adams’s daughter, and Caddell said no because the family hadn’t allowed it.

He also asked if Adams had any physical marks indicating abuse on her body that night. Officers took note of multiple bruises on her, but none of the marks appeared to be from that night, and Adams didn’t indicate they were either.

A search of the house revealed several guns, including one strapped to the headboard of the bed.

Howe was an avid gun enthusiast, Brackett said, and he argued against the relevance of the issue.

However, Cornwell said there were bullet holes in the residence from previous shootings.

Police records show they had been called to the home on reports of domestic disputes between the two in the past.

Based on the evidence, Cornwell asked that in the future the grand jury consider a charge of manslaughter rather than murder due to the tension between the couple.

Malphrus said the state had presented what it needed to determine probable cause for the charges of murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Adams is being held in Moss Justice Center. A bond hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/02/21/3759716/women-charged-with-murder-of-york.html#storylink=cpy