Public Safety

Judge sends Cedar Rapids man back to prison for violating probation in gun conviction

Firearms conviction stems from 2015 fatal shooting of Bryan Edwards

Cecil B. Howell
Cecil B. Howell

CEDAR RAPIDS — A federal judge is sending a Cedar Rapids man back to prison for over a year for violating his supervised release in a firearms conviction stemming from a fatal shooting in 2015.

U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade increased the one-year prison time recommended by both the prosecution and defense and instead sentenced Cecil Howell to 18 months.

Reade said she was the judge on Howell’s first firearms conviction in 2010 and the second conviction of possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful drug user in 2016. That conviction stemmed from a fight that led to the fatal shooting of Bryan A. Edwards, 32, on Sept. 10, 2016, outside Edwards’ house in Cedar Rapids.

Nobody has been charged in Edwards’ death, but Howell and three others were there when he was shot, according to court documents.

Howell, 49, was sentenced by Reade in that case to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Reade said Howell’s supervised release in his 2010 conviction was revoked three times for non-compliance, failure to comply with drug testing and substance abuse. Howell has been given multiple chances to change, which he has failed to do, she said.

In the recent violations from June and July, Howell failed twice to show up for required urine testing and then got into a domestic argument with his girlfriend over his motorcycle. Police responded to the dispute, and an officer smelled alcohol on Howell’s breath. When asked to submit to a breath test, Howell refused.


The officer told Howell not to get on the motorcycle because he had been drinking, and Howell said he wouldn’t because he didn’t want to go back to prison, Reade said. A friend came and moved the motorcycle for him, but three hours later, Howell was drunk and crashed his motorcycle.

He was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for various injuries and admitted to drinking alcohol. A breath test showed he was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Reade said Howell not only harmed himself by driving drunk but endangered the community — after being warned by police not to drive the motorcycle.

Reade told Howell she would have given him the maximum time of two years but gave him less because he admitted to the violations.

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