Teen killed father, hid body before hosting parties in home

Crystal Brooke Howell (Haywood County Sheriff's Office)
Crystal Brooke Howell (Haywood County Sheriff's Office)

MAGGIE VALLEY, NC (WCMH) — A North Carolina woman now faces murder charges in the 2014 death of her father.

Police say Crystal Brooke Howell, now 20, admitted she killed her father when she was 17. She pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and multiple other charges.

Howell told police she shot her father in the head with a shotgun while he was taking a nap and then hit his body for a month inside a plastic container, NBC affiliate WYFF-TV reports. Howell then began hosting parties at the home while her father’s body was hidden away in a storage shed.

“Miss Howell had previously told her friends that her father had killed himself,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Jones said. “She then started to drive his car and spend his money. She had her friends move in, had a drug-fueled party and even had a stripper pole installed in the kitchen.”

Crystal Howell’s attorney told WYFF-TV her client had a mental-health history.

“The evidence in this case is that Miss Howell, who had just been caught shoplifting at Ingles by her father that day, came home and thought about killing her dad while she showered,” Jones said. “Afterwards, she executed him while he slept on the couch.”

“It’s shocking that a young woman kills her father,” District Attorney Ashley Welch said. “But the fact that Howell then began to spend her father’s money, use his house and drive his car – all after hiding his body and the evidence of her crime – that’s the motive. She wanted to live on her terms at the expense of Michael Howell’s life. It’s very sad.”

Howell must serve a minimum of 30 years in prison before she’ll be eligible for parole.

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