Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Howard pleads guilty


the Selma times-journal

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After an hour and a half of arguing among the defendant’s lawyers and state prosecutors, a jury was seated in a 2004 murder case.

Some members were barely comfortable when Johnny Lee Howard Jr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case.

Presiding Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins referred jurors to district attorney Michael Jackson about any questions and thanked them for their time.

One juror looked up at Jackson immediately.

Jackson smiled.

Howard &045; originally charged with murder in the case &045; pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser charge.

Because no plea agreement had been arranged beforehand, Howard &8220;pleaded blind&8221; in the case, which means the judge must determine the sentence.

Howard, 41, shot and killed his common law wife of three years, Lynelle Wynn, in their home at 1905 First Avenue on Nov. 13, 2004, while her four children &045; Howard had no children with Wynn &045; were in an nearby room.

Police reports show that Howard called the police after the shooting.

He said they’d been arguing over who she was hanging around with when they both grabbed for the double-barreled, 12-gauge shotgun on their headboard, according to court records.

During the scuffle over the weapon, Howard told police the gun went off, shooting Wynn in her left breast.

Wynn was killed instantly.

The state filed a motion with Wiggins yesterday, to revoke Howard’s bond. Wiggins denied the motion.

Because Howard is still on bond, he won’t go to jail until sentencing, in January.

Manslaugher carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum of 20.

The district attorney’s office said they were pleased with the outcome of the case.

Thomas agreed.

Billy Faile, Howard’s representative, said both he and his client were content with the plea.