Barbara Howe homicide: Key events from the case

Oct. 27, 2012 — Barbara Howe, an 87-year-old active resident of Mount Pleasant Retirement Community in Monroe, was last seen alive.

Oct. 30, 2012 — Howe is reported missing to Monroe Police by her family.

Nov. 1, 2012 — Howe’s body is found in the back of her red Cadillac parked in the lot of Woodridge Park East Apartments by Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve.

Nov. 2, 2012 — Howe’s death ruled a homicide by the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Feb. 13, 2013 — Monroe police say Howe’s 3.31-carat, oval-cut, diamond wedding ring that is missing could be a key in finding her killer.

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Sept. 14, 2013 — Monroe Detective Gregg Myers tells the Journal-News there is a “person of interest” in the Howe homicide.

Nov. 1, 2013 — Monroe Detective Gregg Myers tells the Journal-News the investigation to find Howe’s killer is “moving forward every day.”

Dec. 10, 2014 — A Butler County grand jury hands down indictments for Daniel French, 56, of Berea, Ky., for the robbery and death of Howe. He is a former employee of Mount Pleasant Retirement Community where Howe lived. He was arrested without incident at his sister’s home on Flat Gap Road Road. Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser called the crime one of the most heinous he has seen in his career.

Dec. 15, 2014 — French waives extradition in Mount Vernon, Ky. In a district courtroom and is sent back to Butler County to stand trial.

Dec. 15, 2014 — Wanda Allen, French’s sister, spoke exclusively with the Journal-News from her home on Flat Gap Road where French was living at the time of the arrest. Allen said her brother was asleep when police arrived and had a gun and a suicide note with him. Allen said her brother is a “very loving and kind person.”

Dec. 16, 2014 — Prosecution files court documents outlining portions of the alleged case against French including a confession to police.

Jan. 7, 2015 — French arraigned on an updated indictment and ordered to be held without bond.

Jan. 9, 2015 — A bill of particulars in the French case offer more details of what prosecutors alleged happened when Howe was killed. According to the prosecution, French used s ruse of Howe’s medical alert system not working to get in the Paxton Circle residence, used a Taser, choked her then slit her throat. After taking money, her purse and diamond ring, French put Howe in the trunk of her car and poured drain cleaner and vacuum cleaner debris on her. He then drove the car to Middletown and left it, according to the court documents.

March 2, 2015 — A Nov. 2 trial date is set by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater for French. The capital murder case is scheduled for three weeks. The trial date was later moved up to Oct. 19.

June 29, 2015 — French’s confession to Middletown Police Detective Rich Bush is played in court as part of a hearing to have the evidence suppressed at trial. French confesses to Howe’s murder and says in the taped interview on Dec. 10 in the Rockcastle County Key. Jail, “I seen Ms. Howe’s ghost, and I apologized.”

July 8, 2015 — Judge Charles Pater rules French’s confession will be permitted at trial.

Oct. 14, 2015 — French pleads guilty to lesser charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse that are part of the crime. Offers to plead guilty of aggravated murder for the death of Barbara Howe with the sentence of life without the possibility of parole. County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser rejects the offer stating a jury should decide French’s fate.

Oct. 19, 2015 — Jury selection begins in French’s trial.

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