Murder case moves forward

Published 3:00 am Friday, November 30, 2018

A Troy University student will face a grand jury on a charge of murder in the apparent choking death of another Troy man earlier this month.

Jeremyah Howell, 21, of Mobile was arrested shortly after the incident on Saturday, November 3.

Howell transported the victim, 25-year-old Rashad McClaney, to Troy Regional Medical Center that morning where McClaney was pronounced dead. The investigation later revealed that the cause of death was asphyxiation.

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Dennis Knizley, defense attorney for Howell, said the killing was an act of self-defense in “mutual combat.”

“It’s extremely unfortunate that Mr. McClaney passed away,” Knizley said. “Obviously there was a confrontation between him and Jeremyah; he came at Jeremyah and they had mutual combat.”

Knizley said no guns were used although Howell and a second murder suspect, Tharion Vincent Nye, of Mobile, returned to The Pointe apartments armed with an assault rifle and a pistol.

“My understanding is the weapon went to the floor and then they engaged in a fist fight, if you will,” Knizley said.

According to Knizley and other testimony presented at the preliminary hearing Tuesday, Howell’s girlfriend had been transported back to her apartment by McClaney and he was sleeping on the floor when Howell arrived.

“She apparently had too much to drink at the bar and somehow this guy came about taking her home,” Knizley said. “Jeremyah tried to contact her the next morning before he went to work and she did not answer, so he went by there and that’s when he saw McClaney. They had some words and he left and then he returned and that’s when the fight took place.”

Knizley said Howell transporting McClaney to the hospital shows that he did not intend to cause his death.

District Judge William Hightower presided over the preliminary hearing and found there was enough evidence to present the case to a grand jury.

The grand jury will review the evidence and decide whether it is enough to indict Howell on the charge, at which point Howell could plead guilty to work out a sentence or plead not guilty, bringing the case to trial.

Hightower did not reduce Howell’s $100,000 bail.

No preliminary hearing has yet been set for Nye.