A North Carolina woman who was a teenager when she murdered her father has been convicted of killing him, hiding his body in a plastic storage bin, and then spending his money and using his home to host drug parties.
Police arrested Crystal Brooke Howell, now 20, for the February, 2014, murder of her 50-year-old father, Michael Howell. An investigation revealed Mr. Howell had been shot in the head while he slept. His body was then stuffed in a plastic bin and housed in the family storage shed.
Friends of the Howell family alerted authorities on March 22 after they found the man’s deteriorating body while they were staying in a guest house.
Crystal, who had moved in with her father after her parents divorced, “had previously told her friends that her father had killed himself,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Jones told WYFF channel 4 in Greenville. “She then started to drive his car and spend his money. She had her friends move in, had a drug-fueled party and even had a stripper pole installed in the kitchen.”
Crystal Howell pleaded guilty to murder and other charges on October 10 and was sentenced to 60 to 84 months in prison on one charge and 25 years for murder. The murder sentence must be served in full before she is eligible for parole.
“It’s shocking that a young woman kills her father,” District Attorney Ashley Welch said. “But the fact that Howell then began to spend her father’s money, use his house and drive his car – all after hiding his body and the evidence of her crime – that’s the motive. She wanted to live on her terms at the expense of Michael Howell’s life. It’s very sad.”
Howell’s attorney insisted she had a record of mental health issues. The convicted woman’s aunt also noted that Crystal had mental problems.
“I can tell you there is a lot more wrong with Crystal than has come out,” the girl’s aunt, Brenda Ennis, said. “There have been so many issues but they have compounded by all that she has been through over the years.”