LIMA — The trial of a Lima teenager who prosecutors say as a juvenile shot and killed Kevonta Cowan in December of 2020 has been delayed until March as a new judge has been assigned to the case.
Na’zier Howard, 19, appeared briefly in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Thursday as the trial scheduled for later this month was pushed back until March 22. Howard was indicted by a grand jury in August of last year on charges of aggravated murder, murder and having weapons under disability related to the Dec. 17, 2019, shooting death of Kevonta Cowan.
Howard was a juvenile at the time of the incident but his case was transferred to the higher court and he is being tried as an adult.
According to court records, police were called on the evening of Dec. 17, 2019, to 225 S. Kenilworth Ave. and found Cowan suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Howard is currently in the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction after being sentenced last year to 14 years in prison for his role in two armed robberies, along with Juan Freeman, at two local businesses in 2020.
A motion was filed by the Allen County Public Defenders Office last month asking that Judge Terri Kohlrieser voluntarily recuse herself from the case.
Kohlrieser had presided over Howard’s armed robbery case and Allen County Public Defender Kenneth Sturgill in his motion said the judge “may be in possession of personal knowledge relating to a potentially disputed issue in this case and therefore may be called as a witness.”
Sturgill asked the judge to recuse herself “to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety.”
Kohlrieser has stepped down; Thursday’s hearing was held with Judge Jeffrey Reed presiding.
The next pre-trial hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 7.