Verdict reached in Michael Howell murder trial

Published: Apr. 6, 2017 at 8:04 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 16, 2017 at 5:55 PM CDT
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VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - A verdict has been reached in the case against Michael Howell in Vanderburgh County.

Michael Howell is found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and guilty of all other charges.

He was accused of killing Beverley Karns in Evansville, then leading police on a chase with her body in the back of his truck.

Howell took the stand Thursday and shocked many people in the courtroom.

Up until Thursday, Howell had stuck with the story that he was the only one involved in wrapping up Beverley Karns body and putting it in the truck.

On the stand, he introduced a new person to the scene, his father, Michael Darren Howell.  He says his father was there at the time of the shooting.

Howell said while he was in the bathroom, his dad and his friend Cody covered Karns' body and put it in the truck. He says he lied to protect his dad and childhood friend.

On the stand, Howell testified Karns put a gun to the back of his wife's head, in front of his children, days before the shooting.

Michael's wife also took the stand but did not confirm the story of a gun being put to her head.

Howell says the day of the shooting, he saw Karns reach into her purse, and he heard a clanking noise. He says he shot her in the head. Once she fell, he realized she was only reaching for an e-cig.

Howell was asked, "Do you regret this whole incident?" His reply - "Everyday of my life."

In closing statements, the defense attorney, Chris Owens, said he truly believes it was self-defense. Owens says despite inconsistencies in Howell's testimony, he never veered from the fact that he thought she was reaching into her purse to pull out what he thought was a gun.

In the prosecutor's closing statements, he says Howell admitted to shooting Karns, and he testified she was not acting threatening in any way up to the incident.

Howell's sentencing is May 1 at 1:30 p.m. It's a story we are continuing to follow.

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