NAOMI JONES: Florida v Robert Howard for 2017 murder of 12-year-old *GUILTY*

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Court proceedings are scheduled to begin next month in the murder trial of Robert Howard, an Alabama sex offender accused of killing 12-year-old Pensacola girl Naomi Jones.

The Ensley girl went missing from her apartment May 31, 2017, setting off a community-wide search effort that ended when Naomi's remains were found in a creek June 5, 2017.

Howard was identified as a suspect early on in the disappearance, and he was arrested two days after Naomi was found. He reportedly confessed to strangling Naomi and now faces the death penalty.

In a hearing Friday afternoon, attorneys argued whether the specific details about the condition of Naomi's remains were important evidence or just gory details meant to draw an emotional response from jurors.

 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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State no longer seeking death penalty for Naomi Jones murder suspect

A week out from the trial of an Alabama man accused of murdering a 12-year-old Pensacola girl, state prosecutors have announced they will no longer seek the death penalty in the case.

Robert Howard is charged with first-degree murder in the 2017 disappearance and death of Naomi Jones, who went missing from her apartment and was found dead in a nearby creek about a week later. Surveillance video placed Howard's car in the area where Naomi was recovered, and during a law enforcement interrogation, he allegedly confessed to killing the child.

Initially, the State Attorney's Office announced Howard's history of prior sex offenses and the victim's young age compelled them to seek the death penalty.

However in a press release Wednesday, the state said, "additional witness information and evidence has developed in the Robert Letroy Howard case. As a result of those developments and evidence, it is no longer appropriate to seek the death penalty in this case. The mother of the victim was consulted and is in agreement with this decision."

The state did not provide any additional information about the nature of the evidence, but in a court appearance Monday, attorneys said they had recently sent off previously untested DNA evidence for lab analysis.


Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Monday, and it was initially scheduled to last for several days. Defense attorneys expressed concerns about finding an impartial jury because of the large amount of publicity around the case.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Monday, and it was initially scheduled to last for several days. Defense attorneys expressed concerns about finding an impartial jury because of the large amount of publicity around the case.

Postponed.



Florida courts suspend trials to slow coronavirus, postponing Naomi Jones murder trial

The chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court has temporarily suspended criminal and civil jury trials, grand jury proceedings and jury selection proceedings statewide in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady authorized the suspension with an administrative order Friday. It will last from March 16 until March 27. Clerks of court and trial court administrators throughout the state will notify all citizens who have been called for jury service during that time frame.

With word of the cancellations Friday, attorneys and the trial judge reconvened and set a tentative new trial date for March 30.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Mom of Naomi Jones reaches $2 million settlement with apartment owner

Naomi Jones' mother has reached a settlement with Aspen Village Apartments' management and ownership in a lawsuit alleging negligent security at the complex led to her 12-year-old daughter's murder.

On Monday, attorneys for Shantara Hurry announced they had settled with complex owner, Aspen Village Acquisition LLC, for $2 million. Hurry also reached a settlement with management group, Progressive Management of America Inc., under confidential terms.

Hurry said she hopes the case causes other apartment complex owners to improve their standards of monitoring who is living or visiting a property.

“I'm just looking for justice, all the way around, for my daughter," Hurry said Monday. "No amount of money could bring my daughter back, so it's not about anything more than just getting everyone to understand how important it is that our surroundings are safe for our children.”

Naomi Jones disappeared from Aspen Village on May 31, 2017, and she was found deceased in a creek a few miles away almost a week later. Robert Howard, a convicted Alabama sex offender who was living part-time at Aspen Village with his then-girlfriend, was linked to the crime scene and is now awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Staff member

Accused killer of Naomi Jones still awaits trial, she would have turned 15 today

Wednesday, Naomi Jones would have turned 15. But her life was taken from her at the age of 12.

Jones’ remains were recovered from Eight Mile Creek near Detroit Boulevard and Ashland Avenue June 5, 2017. Her accused killer, Robert Letroy Howard, was scheduled to go on trial for first-degree murder charges in March. The trial has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prosecutors say Howard kidnapped and killed Jones. His trial is currently scheduled to start June 1.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Staff member
Impact of COVID delays trial for the murder of Naomi Jones
The court finished up their criminal pre-trial motions Friday morning in the case against Robert Howard.

This case is over four years old, COVID delaying it until now, and will continue to impact the trial happening next week.

Prosecutors plan to suggest Howard may have committed sexual battery against the girl before her death.

Of the motions discussed in court Friday, the defense asked the judge for redactions to Howard's statement.

They argued that parts of it will make jurors make inferences that are not true.

Assistant Public Defender stated:

He doesn't say in the statement we're having redacted that 'she came onto me.' As I understand in his statement, what he's indicating is 'she may have been snatched up, maybe he tried to take her off somewhere and have sex with her.' That's what his speculation is in this statement. That's not what he said in the statement he ultimately gave, where he incriminated himself. In that statement, he's saying she came up to his apartment, she came onto him, he killed her in the apartment. In his statement that's incriminating, he never said he carried her off somewhere to have sex with her.
The judge denied the motion.

The state plans to play Howard's interrogation video in full which the defense acknowledged is over three hours long.


COVID-19 delayed the trial several times.

The judge and attorneys now worry about close contacts and cases popping up among jurors and even witnesses.

Assistant State Attorney Bridgette Jensen says, “we actually have a witness that called Wednesday, and her husband and child had tested positive.”

Howard agreed to allow some of them to testify virtually.

There are 125 people up for jury selection, 12 jurors and three alternates.

The judge voices concern for the instance even a single juror case could send the entire selection into quarantine.

The worst case scenario being a mistrial.

"Do I need to consider sequestration of jurors in a hotel somewhere because we want to keep them away from COVID?" says Florida First Circuit Court Judge Gary Bergosh. "I mean no one wants to do that but what happens if that happens?"

Opening statements are slated for Tuesday and Judge Bergosh says he hopes to wrap up the trial by Friday.
 

daisy7

Supreme Member

Four years after Naomi Jones' murder shocked Pensacola, suspect's case heads to trial​

More than four years have passed since hundreds of law enforcement officers, search-and-rescue personnel and private citizens banded together to comb Pensacola for a missing 12-year-old girl named Naomi Jones.

The massive search effort lasted for five days before Naomi's body was found in an Ensley creek not far from her mother's apartment.

After that, it took authorities two more days to find and arrest Robert Letroy Howard, 42, in connection to Naomi's death.

Now, his trial is finally scheduled to start this week, with jury selection beginning Monday.

 

daisy7

Supreme Member
Naomi Jones' mother took the stand on the first day of testimony in her daughter's murder trial Tuesday and recalled the last day that she ever saw her daughter alive.

Shantara Hurry told the jury she left Naomi in charge of her two brothers on May 31, 2017, when she headed out to one of her two jobs. The children's grandmother usually stayed with the kids but wasn't available that day.

Hurry said she wasn't worried, though, because Naomi was responsible for her age.

"For a 12-year-old, she was pretty impressive," Hurry said. "She was very respectful, mindful of the rules. She never wanted to disobey. So she was very trustworthy and responsible."

(snip)

 

daisy7

Supreme Member

Trial begins in the murder of 12-year-old Naomi Jones​

 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Video shows Robert Howard telling investigators he choked 12-year-old Naomi Jones

In a video played by prosecutors Wednesday evening, Howard confessed to investigators that he choked 12-year-old Naomi Jones.

Prosecutors played a three-and-a-half hour video of Howard's interrogation taken two days after fishermen found Naomi's body.

Howard initially denied any accusations for the first hour of the clip.

Investigators even told Howard phone records placed him in the area where they found the body and that surveillance video shows him stopping on the bridge for nearly two minutes.

Over two hours into the interrogation, Howard confessed.

"I really didn't mean for things to go the way they did," Howard said. "I didn't try to hurt the child. But before I realized -- I choked her out."

In the video, investigators asked about the choking and Howard repeated to say that he did choke her around the neck.

Howard told investigators that he panicked an placed Naomi in the backseat of his car. He adds that she was still in the backseat when Naomi's mother confronted him about her being missing.

Investigators say they couldn’t find any of Naomi's DNA in Howard's car.

They did find male DNA from Naomi's intervaginal and oral swab but there wasn’t enough to identify it.



Attorneys say the trial could wrap up as soon as Thursday. If not, they plan to finish Friday and send jurors to deliberate and decide if they believe Howard is guilty.

Naomi Jones would have started 10th grade Wednesday morning.
 

daisy7

Supreme Member

Jury finds Robert Howard guilty of first degree murder of 12-year-old Naomi Jones​

 

Mel70

Special specialist
Video shows Robert Howard telling investigators he choked 12-year-old Naomi Jones

In a video played by prosecutors Wednesday evening, Howard confessed to investigators that he choked 12-year-old Naomi Jones.

Prosecutors played a three-and-a-half hour video of Howard's interrogation taken two days after fishermen found Naomi's body.

Howard initially denied any accusations for the first hour of the clip.

Investigators even told Howard phone records placed him in the area where they found the body and that surveillance video shows him stopping on the bridge for nearly two minutes.

Over two hours into the interrogation, Howard confessed.

"I really didn't mean for things to go the way they did," Howard said. "I didn't try to hurt the child. But before I realized -- I choked her out."

In the video, investigators asked about the choking and Howard repeated to say that he did choke her around the neck.

Howard told investigators that he panicked an placed Naomi in the backseat of his car. He adds that she was still in the backseat when Naomi's mother confronted him about her being missing.

Investigators say they couldn’t find any of Naomi's DNA in Howard's car.

They did find male DNA from Naomi's intervaginal and oral swab but there wasn’t enough to identify it.



Attorneys say the trial could wrap up as soon as Thursday. If not, they plan to finish Friday and send jurors to deliberate and decide if they believe Howard is guilty.

Naomi Jones would have started 10th grade Wednesday morning.
Didn't try to hurt her. Yeah. O.K.
 

Mel70

Special specialist
Impact of COVID delays trial for the murder of Naomi Jones
The court finished up their criminal pre-trial motions Friday morning in the case against Robert Howard.

This case is over four years old, COVID delaying it until now, and will continue to impact the trial happening next week.

Prosecutors plan to suggest Howard may have committed sexual battery against the girl before her death.

Of the motions discussed in court Friday, the defense asked the judge for redactions to Howard's statement.

They argued that parts of it will make jurors make inferences that are not true.

Assistant Public Defender stated:


The judge denied the motion.

The state plans to play Howard's interrogation video in full which the defense acknowledged is over three hours long.


COVID-19 delayed the trial several times.

The judge and attorneys now worry about close contacts and cases popping up among jurors and even witnesses.

Assistant State Attorney Bridgette Jensen says, “we actually have a witness that called Wednesday, and her husband and child had tested positive.”

Howard agreed to allow some of them to testify virtually.

There are 125 people up for jury selection, 12 jurors and three alternates.

The judge voices concern for the instance even a single juror case could send the entire selection into quarantine.

The worst case scenario being a mistrial.

"Do I need to consider sequestration of jurors in a hotel somewhere because we want to keep them away from COVID?" says Florida First Circuit Court Judge Gary Bergosh. "I mean no one wants to do that but what happens if that happens?"

Opening statements are slated for Tuesday and Judge Bergosh says he hopes to wrap up the trial by Friday.
He blames her. Nice.
 

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