Christopher Warren Howell
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Sept. 4, 2012) — A driver with a long history of traffic offenses, failure to register his vehicle, and driving without insurance or a proper license escalated his offenses considerably by forcibly raping a 15-year-old girl, according to Pulaski County court records.
Christopher Warren Howell, 30, of St. Robert, faces a felony charge of forcible rape for which he could spend five years to life in state prison for the incident which, according to court documents, happened on July 16 in the Schlict Springs swimming area west of Crocker.
Deputies were notified of the incident on Aug. 17 and a sheriff’s detective from the special victims unit interviewed the girl on Aug. 31. The girl said Howell came to her home in Crocker and along with her cousin and two sisters, they went to the swimming area. Howell separated the victim from the rest of the group, went a short way down the shore to “skip rocks,” and grabbed and kissed the victim who told Howell to stop and tried to pull away. Howell removed both of their swimsuits and raped her.
After the incident, Howell “authored a poem about their ‘relationship’” and sent it to the victim, according to court documents.
Howell denied the events but was arrested on Aug. 31.
The rape charge isn’t Howell’s first brush with law enforcement.
Earlier this year, Howell pleaded guilty on Feb. 24 to driving while his license was revoked, a Class A misdemeanor, on Nov. 27 of last year. Court records show that a state trooper saw him driving on Highway Y at the junction of St. Robert Boulevard and didn’t appear to be wearing his seat belt. While Howell claimed to be wearing his seat belt, he didn’t have current license plates, told the trooper that “he thought he had until the end of the month to renew his plates,” and ws informed that in Missouri, license plate registration expires at the first of the month.
The trooper had planned to give Howell a warning, but a radio check of his driving status revealed that his license had been revoked “due to excessive points on his driving record.”
Howell pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Associate Circuit Judge Colin Long to pay a $300 fine and $78.50 court costs.
That wasn’t his last problem with the expired plates.
On Jan. 21, a different trooper stopped him close to the stop two months earlier, this time at mile marker 161 of Interstate 44, the St. Robert exit, after seeing his light blue Ford Crown Victoria with a November 2011 expiration date. According to court documents, Howell admitted to the trooper that he didn’t have a license, and a radio check revealed his license had been revoked due to excessive points on Sept. 27, 2011, with a prior suspension for failure to appear on Dec. 28, 2010, and a conviction on Aug. 23, 2011, for driving while his license was suspended.
This time, the trooper cited Howell not only for driving while suspended or revoked, second offense, but also for failure to display valid license plates, a misdemeanor, failure to wear a seat belt, and being a vehicle owner allowing another to drive without insurance. Prosecutors dropped the seatbelt citation but on March 19, charged Howell with second offense driving while his license was revoked, a Class A misdemeanor, failure to have insurance, a Class C misdemeanor, and a misdemeanor charge of failure to display license plates, and noted that in addition to the state charges, he had also been convicted in St. Robert Municipal Court on Aug. 19, 2011, of driving while his license was revoked.
Deputies tried repeatedly to serve him court paperwork from March 24 to April 14 at two different addresses, but on May 11, Long issued an arrest warrant with a $1,000 bond that was finally served on Howell on Aug. 13. He’ll next appear in court on the driving while revoked charges on Sept. 21.