Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man will remain in jail pending hearing to revoke his probation after motorcycle crash

Cecil Howell was convicted on gun charges stemming from fatal shooting in 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man involved in a fight that led to another man’s fatal shooting in 2015 will remain in jail until a judge can decide if he should go back to prison.

Cecil Howell, 49, has two federal firearms convictions, and the longest time he has been out of prison in the last nine years has been for nine months, but that ended when he got drunk and crashed his motorcycle last month, according to Friday’s testimony during a detention hearing.

Sara Campagna, a senior U.S. probation officer, testified Howell has been under her supervision since he was released from prison in May.

Howell was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release, which is probation.

Medical records from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics following the crash showed Howell was intoxicated, and he admitted to drinking alcohol, she said.

Campagna said Howell was previously convicted on a firearms charge in 2010, serving 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release, which was revoked three times for alcohol and drug abuse.

He ended up serving an additional 19 months in prison and a year on probation.

Howell was then convicted in 2016 of one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful drug user stemming from the fight that led to the fatal shooting of Bryan A. Edwards, 32, on Sept. 10, 2016, in Edwards’ house in Cedar Rapids. No one has been charged in Edwards’ death.

Howell was sentenced to 42 months in prison.

Campagna said Howell was released in 2018 and missed some required urine testing. He had finished a drug-treatment program a week before he had the June 2019 drunken driving motorcycle crash. She recommends his probation be revoked.

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Mike Lahammer, Howell’s lawyer, said Howell had injuries from the crash, including cracked ribs, a cracked wrist and road rash. Howell walked into the hearing using a cane and wearing a wrist brace.

He said Howell hadn’t been receiving all his medication at the jail and has to stay outside his cell all day, which is difficult because of his injuries.

Lahammer asked the court to place Howell on home confinement and order remote substance abuse alcohol testing pending Wednesday’s revocation hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Cole argued there are no conditions to ensure Howell isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the community if he is released.

He has been on probation numerous times and hasn’t been successful, Cole said.

U.S. District Magistrate Mark Roberts said he was concerned by Howell’s behavior in the motorcycle crash because Howell’s friends had tried to get him off the motorcycle and he had refused.

Roberts said he has talked to the U.S. marshals about how they take care of the medical needs of inmates, and he’s satisfied they try to meet those needs.

Roberts said he also considered that the probation officer and prosecution will ask that Howell’s probation be revoked next week, and if Howell goes back to prison, the federal system will provide for his medical needs. In the meantime, Howell will remain in jail, the magistrate ruled.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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